August/September 2017 (vol. 14/2)

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Population ageing and work, part 1

Part 1: demographics


Much has been said about the ‘ageing workforce’, but what does it really mean, and what impact will it have on employment, productivity and health at work? In the first of a twopart series Paul Nicholson examines demographic changes that have occurred in the UK and globally.

In the half century since The Beatles released ‘When I’m 64’ on their Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, among other trends we have witnessed the demise and reincarnation of vinyl records, while combined male and female life expectancy at birth in the UK has increased by nine years to over 81 years of age1. Male life expectancy has benefited more; this being attributed to the reduction in tobacco smoking and advances in treatments for circulatory disease. So, 50 years later does ‘When I’m 64’ have the same relevance? Although a European Union survey reported that 63.9 years (61.9 years in the UK) is the average age at which people start to be regarded as ‘old’2, …

Paul Nicholson is an occupational physician, past president of the Society of Occupational Medicine and past chair of the BMA Occupational Medicine Committee.


Author: Nicholson P


Occupational Health at Work August/September 2017 (vol. 14/2) pp21-26

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