While average life-expectancy continues to rise, new challenges are exposing prevailing policies of ageing. For instance, new technologies and the debate about ‘Work 4.0’ are challenging the traditional concept of regular work over the life-course as well as the social construction of the life-course into age-differentiated phases of education, work and family responsibilities, and retirement. While the life-course approach in social research has become a widely accepted and applied field of research, though mainly focusing on the meso- and micro-levels, public policies have seemingly missed out to integrate this perspective and its potentials.
This policy brief therefore sets out to sketch approaches towards what could be coined as ‘Ageing 4.0’ as a concept that responds to new social and societal challenges that are currently debated under the headings ‘Industry 4.0’ or also ‘Work 4.0’, i.e. the ongoing fourth industrial revolution with respective consequences for qualification needs, work organisation, the quality of work and the interaction between technology and human beings. In particular, the brief will discuss life-course-oriented policies that are able to respond to these new challenges and to seize the opportunities of increasing longevity for individuals and society. This entails, first, a short overview of previous stages of views on ageing in societies and related social policies over the past century. Second, the policy brief includes a critical review of concepts that continue to uphold the traditional division of the life-course into pre-defined stages of education, work and pension. Based on this analysis it is argued in the final part that a more integrated life-course perspective is needed to adapt and to modernise social security systems in a direction that is appropriate to underpin the future construction of ‘Ageing 4.0’.