Asia least prepared to cope with ageing workforce

Singapore ranks among countries least resilient to ongoing disruption

Asia least prepared to cope with ageing workforce

Of 20 major nations, Asian countries are among the least prepared to combat the threats of societal ageing and workplace automation, according to a new study.

Singapore ranks the highest among all Asian countries with its spot in 13th place.

Countries that are most resilient to disruption are: Denmark (1), Australia (2), Sweden (3).

The report by Mercer and Marsh & McLennan Insights studied on several factors, including higher older worker participation, an adequate level of pension fund assets, favourable socio-economic conditions, and appropriate policy and legal conditions.

READ MORE: Singapore stands to lose the most with Asia’s ageing labour force

South Korea (20) ranks at the bottom of the list, with China (18) and Japan (17) not far behind.

The report came to the conclusion due to findings like:

Automation and older workers

  • Older workers (those aged 50 above) in China are doing work where tasks are 76% automatable.
  • The difference in average risk of automation between old and young workers is largest in Singapore.

Older employees in the workforce

  • For workers 65 and above: Singapore (27%), China (21%), Japan (23%), South Korea (31%). In comparison, the global average is 15%.

Retirement pension funds

  • Asian countries have very low assets in pension funds as a percentage of their GDP: Singapore (31%), China (1.5%), Japan (29%), South Korea (11%). The global average is 52%.

READ MORE: Singapore drops two spots in retirement index

Renee McGowan, CEO Asia at Mercer, said more needs to be done as Asian countries face rapid ageing.

“By 2030, Japan will become the world’s first ‘ultra-aged’ nation, with those aged 65 and over accounting for more than 28% of the population, while Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan’s elderly cohort making up more than one in four people,” McGowan said.

“But, older workers are now more than ever faced with the risk of losing their jobs to automation, endangering their ability to finance their longevity.

“While there has been progress, there’s a lot of work to be done. Businesses need to better leverage their experienced workforce, with people more willing and able to work past the age of 65.”

Ageing and Automation Resilience Index

  1. Denmark
  2. Australia
  3. Sweden
  4. Canada
  5. Finland
  6. Ireland
  7. Netherlands
  8. USA
  9. Germany
  10.  UK
  11.  France
  12.  Switzerland
  13.  Singapore
  14.  Austria
  15.  Chile
  16.  Mexico
  17.  Japan
  18.  China
  19.  Italy
  20.  South Korea

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