Rapid aging of the society may weaken economic growth in Poland. The European Commission warns that in the coming years demography may be one of the biggest challenges for the economy and employers.
The 2015 Ageing Report published by the EC, referring to economic and demographic prognoses for 2060 points to Poland as one of the countries most affected by the ageing of society. On the one hand, the population of our country will shrink by ca. 5 mln, on the other hand, this will be accompanied by a significant change in the demographic structure. This phenomenon will be even more important than the decreased population, as it will change the balance between the number of people in production age and those in pension age.
The relation of the number of people aged 65+ without a job to the total number of the employed will change from 33 percent now to over 80 percent in 2060. This will be the highest increase among EU countries, for whom the average value of that index in the same period will grow from 41.5 percent to 64.5 percent. This means that now there are four employed people for each pensioner, while long-term we will get to a relation of four people without jobs to five employed. It is advisable to refer to more detailed GUS prognoses as well. They state that while the number of Poles in production age in 2013 exceeded 24 mln, it will be a low as 19 mln in 2050. In the same period, the 18-44 age group will shrink from 15 to 9 million and the post-production age group will grow from 6.5 mln to 10 mln.
According to OECD economists (Looking to 2060. Long-term global growth prospects), the ageing coupled with a decreasing supply of employees may cause a breakdown in the rate of economic growth, which will only have a value of ca. 1 percent per year after 2030. This will be caused by the negative impact of the significantly diminishing number of people in production age. At the same time, OECD experts expect that societies aging at a similar rate (Germany, Japan, South Korea) will be able to partially compensate for this lack of balance with a relatively high development and accumulated capital level. Poland, however, can experience grater social tensions as a result of this.
The most important conclusion to be drawn from these prognoses is the inevitability and irreversibility of the process of increasing the pension age as a means of restricting the impact of demographic phenomena on the economy.
Jacek Brzozowski, adviser to the President of Employers of Poland