Best Agers Lighthouses – Project description

The predecessor project Best Agers followed a rather broad approach, looking into various roles that older people can assume to still be economically active. These roles include being mentors for students, starting their own business, assisting SME as experts and working longer.

With regard to the role of older workers in companies, the partners' research has given indications that employing older people can be economically beneficial both on the micro and macro level under the right conditions. Concrete recommendations have been listed in a "17-point Programme for Sustained Employability of Best Agers".

Cooperation between the partners has also shown that whereas the legal, administrative, social and cultural differences between countries make it impossible to prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach, there are certain common traits that hinder economic activity of older people in nearly every involved EU member state. These are:

  • a low level of appreciation of older professionals' competences among employers,
  • a lack of willingness among employers to proactively change their personnel strategy before the strains of skills shortage and loss of experience hit the company or organisation directly,
  • a shortfall of encouragement and incentives for older employees in key positions to remain in the company and become involved in competence transfer and
  • a lack of visible positive examples, even in – by way of comparison – more advanced member states such as Sweden.

The central aim of the extension stage project "Best Agers Lighthouses" is now to create and promote practical examples that demonstrate the consequences of implementing – and of not implementing – age management at the organisational level. Only if these are documented and communicated convincingly, companies and public organisations will start to implement similar practices on their own. This will add a practical dimension to the mostly theoretical results of the main stage project with regard to the employment situation of older people.

The sub-objectives are: