Golden Age Index

How well are the OECD economies harnessing the power of an older workforce?

In our 2017 update, we explore the potential $2 trillion prize from longer working lives


This year's update of the Golden Age Index shows that the OECD has continued its gradual progress towards greater engagement of older people in the workforce. Iceland, New Zealand, Israel and Sweden continue to lead the OECD, taking top positions on the index. 

We explore the potential boost to OECD GDP from raising employment rates of older workers to Swedish levels, finding that the OECD could experience a long-term gain of around $2 trillion. 

View the key findings for highlights from our research and explore the results further using our interactive data tool. We provide more detailed analysis and commentary in the full report, which you can download below


Key findings

Our Golden Age Index is a weighted average of seven indicators which reflect the labour market impact of workers aged over 55 in OECD countries, including employment, earnings and training. The key findings from our 2017 report are as follows: 

  • Iceland, New Zealand, Israel and Sweden take the top four spots, with many of the Nordic countries also performing well on the index.
  • Israel, Germany and Australia have achieved the most significant improvements in the rankings from 2003.
  • The UK maintains a middling position on the index, falling one place to 19th this year.
  • There is a large regional disparity in the employment rates of older workers across the UK, ranging from around 63% in Northern Ireland to almost 75% in the South East. 
  • The OECD could achieve a $2 trillion boost to GDP in the long-term if countries raised their employment rates of those aged over 55 to match Swedish levels. For the UK, the potential gain could be around £80 billion.
  • For governments across the OECD, the priorities include reforming pension systems and providing other financial incentives to encourage later retirement. For employers, flexible working, partial retirement options and role redesign can help to meet the changing needs and preferences of older workers.

Explore the data

Click on a country below to see how it ranks against key indicators and how its performance has changed over time.


Explore by selecting a country
Golden Age index score relative to OECD average
OECD Average
% of people
aged 55-64 in
% (2016 data)
Gap with Sweden
* Excluded from analysis as employment rate is above Sweden's rate
Percentage points
GDP impact of increasing 55+ employment rates to Swedish levels
% of GDP
USD billions
% of people
aged 65+ in employment
% (2015 data)
Golden Age index ranking

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Hannah Audino

Hannah Audino

Economist, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7483 348728

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