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Nobuko Kobayashi writes for Nikkei Asian Review

In the Nikkei Asian Review opinion piece, “The hidden potential of Japan's older workers,” EY-Parthenon Partner Nobuko Kobayashi comments on how investment in experienced staff can revitalize industry in unexpected ways.

Despite the hype, the change to highly automated production is unlikely in the foreseeable future, even in Japan, where labor shortages are especially intense. Even in a world of ubiquitous internet and automation, there is room for analog human intervention because not everything can be digitized, at least not for a long time. Allowing older workers to stay on the job longer is one way to ensure continuity on the factory floor, traditionally a strength of Japanese manufacturing.

“For employers, investing in younger workers by offering training and benefits is a no-brainer. But young, talented employees may well jump ship, taking the current employer's investment to another,” she explains. “Investing in senior workers, something employers may overlook, lowers that risk: Senior workers have already demonstrated their loyalty.”

The "silver economy," is a buzzword in developed economies, with a focus on older people as consumers or their needs, like health care. But, Nobuko points out, that older workers and entrepreneurs are a vital part of production in the silver economy.

Read the full article.