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Discussion Paper

Discussion Paper No. 9: Ageing Workforce, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development

Political Challenges within the Baltic Sea Region

The analyses presented in the Discussion Paper ‘Ageing Workforce, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development’ are a result of thorough scientific evidence and discussions among experts from research, policy and societal organisations from eleven Baltic Sea States. Results suggest, for instance, that regional and national policies aimed at creating sustainable ageing societies should better support small and medium-sized enterprises in adapting to new characteristics of the working force. Similarly, more support is needed in order to promote employment at all ages in less-developed regions and outside metropolitan regions. It is also of key importance to target the most vulnerable groups within the ageing labour force. From a methodological viewpoint, experts emphasize the importance of taking a life course perspective with regard to lifelong learning: encouraging positive attitudes towards learning at all ages should start already early in life. The study also indicates the relevance of further encouraging the promotion of initiatives against age discrimination in the labour market. Regarding incentives for working longer (or disincentives for early retirement), experts alert not to disregard societal developments leading to involuntary participation in the labour market after retirement such as low pension levels, increasing housing costs or poverty risks.