Jobs and the Future of Work

Charted: Where people are working beyond 65

Two older employees discussing work with files in their hands.

There are big differences in workforce participation among over-65s across the OECD. Image: Pexels/RODNAE Productions

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • Japan and South Korea are the countries where people aged 65 and over make up the biggest share of the labour force.
  • Far fewer people in Europe work beyond 65, even though ageing populations are also common there.
  • The US has a higher share of older workers, as many feel the need to work longer in a country that offers little in the way of public pension benefits to lower-wage earners.

There is a huge disparity in labour force participation among over 65-year-olds across different OECD countries. According to data from the organization, Japan and Korea are the places where those aged 65 and over are making up the biggest share of the labour force - between 13 and 14 percent. In contrast, Europe, where aging societies are also common, is seeing much fewer people work beyond 65. The number ranged from 3.8 percent of the labour force in the United Kingdom and just 1.3 percent in Spain. This is despite the fact that both countries - like most developed nations - are raising the retirement age, have a current minimum retirement age around 66 years and will reach 67 years before the end of the decade.

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In the United States, the minimum retirement age is about the same, but still, the share of older workers is higher at 6.6 percent of the labour force - above that of Mexico. This fact signals that older Americans can feel the need to work longer in a country that relies heavily on individual pension accounts and offers little in regards of public pension benefits to lower-wage earners.

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What is the World Economic Forum doing about including older people in the workforce?

Where people are working beyond 65.
Japan and South Korea are the places where those over 65 make up the biggest share of the labour force. Image: Statista
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