24.2 How firms manage the age? A comparison between France and Japan in the electric sector

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 9:18 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Emilie LANCIANO , Université de Lyon, France
This article makes a comparative study of the current state of the employment of older people in major electrical manufacturers in France and Japan. In both countries, the aging population has made balancing the public pension scheme budget an important policy concern. In response, both countries have raised the pension eligibility age, and implemented policies aimed at promoting employment of older people. However, the state of older people's employment in the two countries differs greatly.

In France, workforce reduction in recession periods has historically been achieved by early retirement of older workers. Although the retirement of older workers causes problems for skill succession, age-based workforce management remains deeply rooted.

In Japan, too, there remain many cases of older workers being encouraged to take early retirement for purposes of employment adjustment, but in manufacturing settings, continued employment of older workers for purposes of skill succession is increasing rapidly. Skill succession became a particular problem in manufacturing settings due to the baby boomer generation reaching the retirement age (of 60) in 2007. Major players in the electrical industry have, since the early 2000s, implemented reemployment systems to effect the continued employment of older people. In the major electrical manufacturers surveyed, half of those retiring were reengaged, with the number increasing yearly.

However, reemployment systems employ older workers who have already retired in a different format and at a greatly reduced level of pay. For the older workers, this means accepting a decline in working conditions, while being responsible for nearly the same duties as they had before retirement. For this reason, there are still many obstacles to the maintaining of older people's desire for work.