Career & age

Career and age - two words which will continue to be extremely important for the labour market in the coming years and decades! Did you know that by 2050 European males will on average live to be 81 and females  even up to 86? We are not just living longer… we are also remaining active and dynamic for much longer…  Except when it comes to work… Did you know that right now in the EU, there are 4 people in work for every pensioner? By 2050, there will only be 2  people in work for every pensioner, if no action is taken.

As we will live longer and stay active for a longer time, we will also need to find ways to cope with longer lasting careers. How are we going to meet this challenge? A number of countries in Europe have decided to work together and to  rethink the concept of a ‘career’. The activities of this learning network are funded by the European Commission.

Want to know what happens next? We kindly invite you to follow us via this website and our newsletters over  the next two years and to discover how we are going to learn from each other, how we are going to develop  a flexible model that allows individuals and organizations to help create and support  sustainable careers and what we will recommend to make sustainable and dynamic careers possible for all  European citizens.


The ageing of the (working) population is seen as one of the biggest challenges for the European Union in the coming decades. The share of older people in relation to the total population will increase considerably, while the share of young people and workers will drop. The exit from the labour market of the babyboom generation has already started and the younger generation  is not large enough to fill  all the jobs that will become vacant. The decrease in the active population (amongst others caused by the exit of the babyboom generation) will have to be countered by getting more people into work (e.g. by re-activating older jobseekers) and by encouraging and supporting the working population to work longer and to have longer and more sustainable careers. In the years to come we will need to motivate people to stay longer in the labour market.

The European network on Career and AGE (Age, Generations, Experience)  would therefore like to respond on these challenges via the life course approach. An organisation-oriented life course approach  should help to reduce the effects of ageing and demographic change. To deal effectively with individuals in the labour market, knowledge of the different life stages as intergenerational cooperation is essential. In that way,  sustainable employability, a sustainable career as well as an extending working life become possible.

This approach will be put in practice via a grid/toolbox and is aimed at offering answers and solutions for a broad range of labour market issues, which are common in most EU Member States/regions such as: intergenerational learning and cooperation, better combination of work and private life, lifelong learning and training opportunities, a healthy workplace and job mobility, …

Because of the fact that we are looking at careers in a broader sense, it is necessary to steer away from the specific target group policy but depart from an integral career policy with responsibility for both the individual and the employer or intermediate organization. For more information about corporate social responsibility, click here.

For more information about the work programme of the network, please contact the ESF Flanders ( and