Thailand should prepare for ageing society

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BANGKOK – The elderly should be encouraged to save money and work beyond retirement, an expert at Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) said.

TDRI research fellow Jirawat Panpiemras said the government should implement policies to ensure workers have life security as Thailand will have a greater number of elderly people in near future. He also urged the authorities to launch vocational alternatives for the elderly, especially in the service sector.

According to a TDRI study, a continuous decline in deaths and fertility rates has led to Thailand becoming an ageing society, and this would have an effect on economic growth. By 2030, one fourth of the population or 23.5 per cent will be elderly, he said.

In addition to rising medical costs, a larger number of senior citizens will inevitably affect the country’s economy on several aspects, including fewer working-age people and a lower amount of savings. The shortage of labor will slow down the business sector if Thailand is unable to import migrant workers to fill the gap or does not develop technology which cuts down on manual labor, he said.

He also urged the business sector to set up strategies to make adjustments in response to the labor shortage, which might get worse in the future. This includes encouraging workers to hold down their job longer, promoting workers’ well-being and productivity as well as developing technology.