social capital

Sustainable Ageing in a Digital World

Objectives:

An increasing number of concerns have been raised regarding the risks of leaving vulnerable groups behind in a hyper-digitalised world which includes older and marginalised populations. Therefore, digital inclusion needs to be a top priority in terms of public policy making from a human rights and from an economic productivity point of view. The latter is of particular importance for countries that do not yet have an adequate social safety net for their citizens and also for countries faced with the challenge of older persons soon outnumbering the younger population. Responsive policies could empower the older population who are not yet digitally proficient to reap the potential benefits of the digital technology and support their participation in an increasingly digitalized economy and society.

An ageing workforce poses a known dilemma to companies. Older employees who hold more manual and less highly skilled jobs tend to be less familiar with ICT and less equipped to participate in today’s digitalised workplace. Excluding older workers and employees from acquiring digital literacy and minimal competence to work in an ICT dense workplace would reduce retraining costs but might jeopardize productivity and externalise social costs. For example, in service sector where companies’ productivity might actually increase with age due to accumulation of tacit knowledge and abilities to network across age groups with clients. This will take younger employees more time, emotional intelligence and social capital. Hence productivity might be higher for a socially skillful older staff. While many routine works continue to be necessary within an ICT integrated work environment, older workers, arguably with greater patience, are better equipped to carry out the more routine data processing tasks with less errors and need for rework.

Inclusion of older workers in the development of digital competence would also make sense since many of the customer services and other more routine type of work connected to data platform interactions will continue to require a human touch for all age groups. A later life work pattern will become the norm in many of the ageing societies. Hence, acquiring digital literacy would enable older workers to remain active and productive longer. The aim of this panel is to broaden the public’s understanding about the impact of digital technology on ageing in the context of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) which has accelerated the coverage and depth of digitalization in both public and private domains.

The key note speech will be based on the newly published policy brief on “Ageing in the Digital Era” by the UNECE and highlight the barriers to digital technology adoption and the use of digital tools in later life and suggest action areas for policy makers. Panelists will discuss various policy considerations for governments to adopt.

Learn more and register here: https://hopin.com/events/unisa-iasia-hybrid-conference

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-NY, please visit ngocoa-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Vienna, please visit ngoageingvie.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Geneva, please visit ageingcommitteegeneva.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com.