Employment of older workers is a pressing issue for many countries, including France. There has been a recent public debate about whether the employment of older people hinders the employment of young people.
The authors of a study by the Louis Bachelier Institute's Department of Demographic Transition and Economic Transformation concluded that the employment of older workers is not an obstacle to the employment of young people. On the contrary, it can be mutually beneficial and contribute to economic growth.
Experienced workers have knowledge and skills that can be transferred to young professionals. This contributes to their professional development and productivity. In addition, older workers can take up positions that are not suitable for young people, such as those requiring long experience or special knowledge.
Empirical studies confirm that the labor supply of older workers and youth unemployment rates are not correlated. Countries with low levels of employment of older persons also have high youth unemployment rates. This is due to other factors such as lack of skills among youth, age discrimination, etc.
Youth in France
The youth unemployment rate in France is 22.7%, well above the EU average (16.6%). This is due to several factors, including the lack of qualifications of young people, age discrimination and the difficulty of finding a job in the economic downturn.
Young people in France are more educated than previous generations. In 2022, 57% of young people aged 25-34 had a tertiary education, a significant increase from 30% in 1990. However, despite high levels of education, many young people have difficulty finding employment.
Young people are more cosmopolitan than previous generations. They are more inclined to travel, learn foreign languages and experience other cultures. This is due to the development of technology and globalization.
Increasing the employment rate of older workers can bring several benefits to the French economy. It will increase GDP, increase government revenues and reduce social benefit costs.
To increase the employment rate of older workers, the authors of the study propose the introduction of a one-month strategic "reflection leave" for people aged 50 to 53 under the auspices of France Travail with training measures. Such a leave would help older workers rethink their careers and gain new skills that would be in demand in the labor market.
Also, increasing the employment rate of older workers can reduce youth unemployment, but this requires addressing age discrimination and ensuring that young people have access to quality education and internships.