The older worker

Henry N. Goodall and John Grimley Evans

Age will not be defied.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English Philosopher Essays, ‘Of Regiment of Health’*


Throughout the world, populations are ageing, as birth rates fall and people live longer. This ‘demographic transition’ brings about a permanent change in population structure and an increase in the ratio of people traditionally regarded as being of ‘retirement age’ to those traditionally regarded as being of ‘working age’. Both for the productivity of a population and for the funding of pensions and other social benefits, the whole trajectory of working life and the social structures that underpin it have to change to match labour resources to needs. In particular, people in the developed world must expect to continue working to later ages than in the past, a change that has implications both for the employed and for employers. Occupational physicians have an important role to play in making longer working lifetimes possible, productive, and pleasant.

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