Ageing, Productivity and Employment Status

20 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2020

See all articles by Brindusa Anghel

Brindusa Anghel

Foundation for Applied Economic Research (FEDEA)

Aitor Lacuesta

Banco de España

Date Written: February 6, 2020


The article analyses how labour market participation and the type of work performed change with age. Drawing on data from the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), it is documented that as people age they gradually lose certain skills relating to their ability to do physical work or use new technologies, or their literacy and numeracy skills. By contrast, as they build up experience, older workers develop better planning skills and a greater ability to supervise the work of others and respond to setbacks. However, the transition between these tasks is not problem-free, especially in certain sectors, such as agriculture, small retail trade, hotels and restaurants and domestic help, which in Spain are more likely to have a higher concentration of older workers with a lower level of education than in the rest of the euro area. In this respect, larger firm size, flexible working environments, retirement schemes with certain specificities relating to skills required in different occupations and an increase in continuing training would all be conducive to a lower decline in productivity and a higher degree of employability of older workers. This is particularly important in Spain’s current demographic context of a gradually ageing population.

Keywords: ageing, skills, tasks, PIAAC

JEL Classification: J24

Suggested Citation

Anghel, Brindusa and Lacuesta, Aitor, Ageing, Productivity and Employment Status (February 6, 2020). Banco de Espana Article 2/20. Available at SSRN:

Brindusa Anghel (Contact Author)

Foundation for Applied Economic Research (FEDEA) ( email )

Jorge Juan 46
Madrid, 28001

Aitor Lacuesta

Banco de España ( email )

Madrid 28014

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