The impact of national context on age diversity and age management : the case of the UK and Hong Kong

Matt FLYNN, Heike Simone SCHRÖDER, Cheung Ming, Alfred CHAN

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Abstract

This chapter explores how governments are responding to ageing demographics using two case studies: the UK and Hong Kong. Both economies are facing dual challenges: addressing chronic skills shortages which necessitate longer working lives and closing the gap in pension savings as citizens need to prepare for longer periods of old age. We will explore how governments in these contrasting economies are using both the levers of the welfare state and employment law to shape employment and savings patterns. Although the timing may differ, the two governments are following similar tracks of placing the onus for both extended working life and savings on individuals while not significantly intervening in firms’ business and Human Resource (HR) processes. The most significant difference between the two governments’ responses to ageing demographics lies in how they have been tackling workplace ageism since the beginning of the millennium. While the Hong Kong government focused its efforts on encouraging voluntary good practice by businesses, in the UK, regulations are now in place to curtail both workplace age discrimination and mandatory retirement. However, the latter interventions are directly in response to the European Union (EU)’s Lisbon Protocol, which directed member states to take action to raise participation rates of people aged 55–64.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave handbook of age diversity and work
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Pages499-519
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781137467799
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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