Preparing for an aging Filipino society


In ancient Roman times, people could expect to live 30 to 35 years. The average person born in 1960, the first year the United Nations began keeping global data, could expect to live to be 52.5 years old. What a big difference a few decades can make: a person born today has an average life expectancy of between 79 and 83 years.

According to a study by the International Labor Organization, people aged 55 and over are expected to outnumber all children aged 0-14 by 2035 and the entire population of children and young people aged 0-24 by 2080. As a direct consequence of population aging, the number of workers aged 55-64 is increasing and is expected to represent a quarter of the global labor force by 2030.

However, as more and more baby boomers retire, companies around the world are facing a significant loss of talent. Some companies try to avoid the potential loss of expertise by encouraging workers to stay longer after retirement. A study by consultancy Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson) showed that replacing an experienced worker of any age would cost 50% or more of the individual’s salary in turnover costs. The cost is even higher in jobs requiring specialized skills and extensive experience often possessed by employees over the age of 50.

One company that understands the economics of attracting and retaining older workers is Michelin North America, which has launched its Returning Retiree program which is open to all Michelin retirees willing to volunteer their skills for short and long-term projects. term. David Stafford, vice president of people and human resources for Michelin North America, said the company benefits from retirees who have “a rich pool of knowledge and skills”, while the program helps Michelin maintain a hand -flexible workforce.

Unfortunately, no retirement program like Michelin’s exists in the Philippines. While there may be a few companies that hire retiring workers as consultants, these are the exceptions rather than the rule. The general practice is for Filipino companies to shed older workers to make room for younger ones.

Elderly people now make up 8.5% of the Filipino population (about 9.2 million people), according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, former executive director of the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), said the government had less than a decade to formulate strong programs to care for an aging society. (Read, “Government has less than a decade to prepare for aging society, must establish programs”, in the business mirror, October 6, 2022).

“Among our seniors, women outnumber men by 55% to 45%,” Dr. Perez said. “While the older Filipinos outlive their male counterparts, the older ones struggle with illnesses and disabilities. More than half (57%) have difficulties with their daily life and have mobility problems. Around 56% of them are already widowed, while 70% of men are still married or have partners and are very physically active.

Professor Grace Cruz of the University of the Philippines-Population Institute said the Philippines would start to become an “aging society” in 10 years, because then there would be more old people. POPCOM predicts that about 11% of the total population will be 60 and over by 2030, and they will outnumber children aged 0-4, reversing the country’s historical trend of having more children. than old people.

We are all interested in promoting healthy aging, but are we prepared for the multiple longevity challenges of tomorrow? Starting now, we need to devise a strategy to support and facilitate the lives of our aging population. Our seniors desire nothing more than a healthy, dignified, financially independent life and finally a serene departure from this world. As a wise man once said, “we’re all going to make it to the gate – someday.”


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