The Vietnamese population will enter the “aging phase” in 2017, which is expected to create both opportunities and challenges for the country, heard a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on October 2.
Vietnam is one of the 10 countries to see the fastest aging population in the world, with elderly people accounting for 10.5% of the total population in 2013. The rate is forecast to increase to 20% in 2030 and 30% in 2050, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Experts said increasing human longevity with better health, diets, education, economy and medical technology will allow older people to continue to devote their know-how and skills to the socio-economic development.
However, a number of obstacles still lie ahead, they said.
Economist Pham Chi Lan held that the rapid aging population will hinder economic growth and income improvements since labour force growth and increasing labour productivity are two key factors contributing to Vietnam’s growth.
She cited the labour force growth from 2000 to 2010 was 2.8%, while the figure from 2010 to 2020 is estimated at only 0.6%.
In the coming time when the period of a golden population end, the number of people of working age will reduce, she said, adding that the country should look to utilize the older workforce.
“If we fail to do that, we will waste a source of experienced and skilled workers,” she said.
Sharing this viewpoint, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs Pham Sy Loi said the rapid aging population will result in labour shortage and insufficient human power to provide services for the elderly and children.
Rector of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Lan Huong said aging population is not a burden, but it will put heavy pressure on the economy and the society if there is no preparation and implementation of appropriate policies and strategies.
She recommended carrying out a flexible working time for older people and pay salary according to their labour productivity.
It is also important to build and develop “active aging” principles enabling older people to join the labour market while raising public awareness about the value and contributions of the elderly, she added.