Facts, trends, challenges, propositions and links for good practices

  1. Facts

high rate of employment of older workers (55-64 years) in comparison with UE/OCDE countries

70,5% in 2010. (Iceland : 83,5%, Sweden 74,5%, UE average 49,7%, Malta 31,6%).

For the category 50-64 years: rate of 76,1% (see Tableau 1. Indicateurs clés sur les travailleurs âgés).

increasing of the employment rate in the last decade (see tableau 1)

55-64 years old: 67,3% in 2001, 65,1% in 2005, 69,5% in 2011.

Main reason: increasing of employment of women (2000: 51,3%, 2010 : 60,6%)

more jobs in tertiar sector

more part-time jobs

increase of the retirement age for women (62 64 years old)

By men : 79,3% in 2000 and 80,5% in 2010


increasing of the pourcentage of older workers in the whole employed population

2000: 15,2% of 55-64 years, 2010: 17,5% of 55-64 years

Projections: 2020: 20%, 2025: 22%

more part-time jobs and independant job

Part-time : 39,2% versus 33,2% (25-54 years old)

Independant : 21,1% versus 11% (< 55 years old)

The to age process with differences amongst sectors

For exemple, the sectors of health, education, administration, energy production are more affected than the average. The sectors of construction, hotels and information&communication are under the average

Older workers and unemployment

The rate is a little under the average (3%) but the older workers when jobless need more time to find a job again

Anticipated retirement

The rate (calculated on 5 years before official age of retirement (64 female/65 ans male) was 17,1% in 2010 (2000 : 17,55). Great differences amongst sectors : the highest rate : financial&insurance sector : 45,8%, the lowest : agriculture (6,9%) ; hotels and restauration (10%).

  1. Trends

Demographic ageing and dearth of personal

More than a decade ago has begun a discussion about the demographic ageing in Switzerland. Till now the discussion has been focused principaly on the consequences of the demographic ageing for the financing of the social security.

Now, the discussion occurs also on the effects for the labour market too with the increasing part of older workers. Travail.Suisse had decided for her last congress in november 2011 to put an accent in this way with the publication of «  Ten Statements on Demography – a Manifest for better work ».

In this context, the Swiss State, involving the socialpartners, has launched an initiative to fight the problem of dearth of personal in the frame of demographic ageing. This initiative has the goal to take different measures to optimize the utilisation of present labourforce. The two main groups are the women and the older workers.



Contradictory trends

Right now on the swiss labour market and in the enterprises we can observe contradictory trends in relation with older workers. On one hand, the pourcentage of older workers integrated in labour market has increased. There are efforts made by the State (initiative described above), trade-unions (improvement of conditions of work for older workers, anticipated retirement) and associations of employers (sensibilisation with publications and different platforms and network, for exemple the new platform labourmarket 45+from Union patronale suisse. Some enterprises have different good practices for the management of ages. But it seems that is only a minority.

On the other hand, we can observe the persistance, or even worsening, of problems or difficulties for older workers such as :

  • Absence of lifelongtraining to maintain the employability
  • Discrimination and stereotypes like less productivity of older workers (the experience seems less important as well as other qualities of older workers)
  • Much mor difficulty to find a new job if unemployed

A recent study1 on mass redudancy from 5 enterprises in 2009/2010 concerning about 1000 people has shown that is especially hard for older workers. The conclusion of the study is that the age is a variable much more important than gender and even training to find a new job. Between 1,5 and 2,5 years after the mass redudancy 80% of the persons less than 55 years old had found a new job, 53% of the 55-59 years old and 13% of the 60-64 years old.

  1. Challenges and propositions

For Travail.Suisse, a better integration of older workers in the labour market is of great importance due to demographic ageing and dearth of personal. But it is a goal as such too, with the necessity to improve the conditions of work and to fight against discrimination. We don’t believe that Switzerland would be able to find a solution with more immigration for exemple to face or resolve the problem.

The challenge is to take the good measures to promove and to reinforce the integration of older people in the labour market. For this goal, measures are needed principaly in the fields of training policy, labour market policy and social security (right incitations in connexion with retirement).

Training policy

Labourmarket policy :

Social security :

  1. Bibliography and links for good practices :

Démos. Newsletter. No 2. Mai 2012. Les seniors sur le marché du travail suisse p. 1-5. Office fédéral de la statistique. Démos. Informations démographiques No 2 Mai 2012 – admin.ch

Examen thématique de l’OCDE de suivi des politiques pour améliorer les perspectives des travailleurs âgés sur le marché du travail. Suisse (situation mi-2012).SuisseOECD

A guide to good practice in age management. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. 48p. 2006. Dublin



Beschäftigungsfähigkeit erhalten ! Strategien und Instrumente für ein langes gesundes Arbeitsleben. Praxishilfe. 74 p. 2007. BKK Bundesverband. Essen.

Les seniors : nouvelles perspectives sur le marché du travail. Un livre blanc de Manpower. 24p. 2007. Manpower. Direction générale. Zurich

Guide pour les employeurs. Travail et seniors. 60p. 2006. Union patronale suisse. (french and german). With recommandations and summary of good practices of enterprises in Switzerland.

SECOTravailleurs âgés

SECO – Participation des travailleuses et travailleurs âgés

www.50plussante.ch (results of a programm above health at work for the 50+ in the french and italian speaking part of Swizterland; in french)

www.hoepflinger.com (a scientist with some good publications about older workers in enterprises)


Network of big enterprises:




Network more for little and medium enterprises


To find a job (ORP/RAV)




1 Isabel Baumann et Daniel Oesch « Licenciements collectifs en Suisse: un problème surtout pour les travailleurs âgés. » La Vie économique, no 10, 2013, p 50-53