Given the rapid population ageing, providing older people with better work incentives and choices is tremendously important to promote economic growth and to help sustain public social expenditures. Therefore, in 2011 the OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee decided to carry out a new series of policy reviews entitled Working Better with Age to encourage greater labour market participation at an older age, through the fostering of employability, job mobility and labour demand. It builds upon previous work that the OECD has conducted in this area in the Ageing and Employment Policies series, summarised in the Organisation’s major cross-country report Live Longer, Work Longer, published in 2006.

In parallel to population ageing, inequality is also on the rise in many countries, growing from one generation to the next and old-age inequality will almost certainly increase among future retirees with higher risks of poverty among them. The OECD has stepped up its research efforts to identify ways of preventing this unequal ageing, recognising that a lower level of inequality is both an end in itself and a way of increasing countries’ resilience to the consequences of demographic change. As a part of the OECD’s inclusive growth agenda, the report Preventing Ageing Unequally published in October 2017 documents how disadvantages in education, employment and health lead to deeply entrenched inequalities. Effective and well-tailored policy action is needed to achieve greater inclusiveness in later life while making sure that pension spending does not become an unsustainable financial burden for society.

This report points to areas where changes or new reforms are needed in the United States to improve work incentives and employment opportunities at an older age as well as to promote more equal outcomes across older workers.

The report benefited greatly from discussions with experts, officials, employer federations, academics and businesses during an OECD mission to the United States in early 2017, including a kick-off seminar, and from comments to various drafts provided by several authorities and stakeholders.

This report is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD.