Government sees potential in Taiwan’s middle-aged labor market

Taiwan's labor participation rate for those aged 45-64 was 62.42 percent last year, up 2.41 percentage points from a decade ago, underscoring the effectiveness of government efforts to tap this demographic and meet increasing manpower shortages on the road to securing the country's sustainable economic development.

A total 4.23 million people in the age group were employed in 2016 representing a year-on-year rise of 65,000, or 1.57 percent. The number of men and women with jobs increased 25.08 percent and 54.53 percent from 10 years ago, respectively, according to statistics released June 19 by the Ministry of Labor.

Around 2.51 million chose to remain out of the workforce, with homemaking, old age and financial independence as the top three reasons in that order.

The strong result for women was attributed by an MOL official largely to a rise in education and increased willingness to enter the job market and carve out professional careers. This is particularly encouraging as the hollowing out of the local labor market due to Taiwan's declining birth rate and rapidly aging society is presenting challenges across the board, the official added.

The ministry is implementing numerous measures to boost the number of middle-aged workers in the labor market. These include assisting firms with role redesign, providing professional training for job seekers and subsidizing employment.

One of the key initiatives is a dedicated bill aimed at removing possible employment hurdles and fostering a more friendly work environment for the age group. The MOL-drafted legislation is expected to be ready for Cabinet approval by year-end.

But more work remains to be done, the official said, adding that the country's labor participation rate for 60- to 64-year-olds is low in comparison with other countries. MOL statistics reveal that 36.4 percent of the demographic was employed in Taiwan compared to 65.8 percent in Japan, 61.5 percent in South Korea and 55.8 percent in the U.S.

Taiwan's world-class National Health Insurance and rapid advances in medical care have improved the well-being of the people and extended life expectances, the official said. As a result, the 60 to 64 group is growing and emerging as a valuable source of skilled labor for employers.

Source: Taiwan Today