Book written by 2009 Abe Journalism Fellow and 2011 Abe Fellow Joseph M. Coleman based on his projects “The Silver Bullet? Putting the Elderly to Work in an Aging Japan” and “The Old Man and the Hammer: The Struggle to Build the Aging Workforce of the Future.”

The era of the aging worker is here. The forces driving the first
decades of the 21st century — globalization, technology, societal
aging, and jarring economic instability — have made later retirement a
necessity for many, but those who choose to stay in the workforce are
frustrated by a job market that fails to take advantage of their
talents. As government’s ability to finance retirement and health care
declines, making space for older workers in the labor force has emerged
as a chief challenge for the coming century.

international correspondent Joseph Coleman spent three years traveling
to various places in Japan, France, Sweden, and across the United States
to profile this aging global workforce. From the rice paddies of Japan
to the heart of the American rust-belt, Coleman takes readers inside the
lives of older workers. Clear-eyed portraits of individuals illuminate
the aging of the world labor force and introduce readers to the
factories, offices, and fields where older workers toil and the
societies in which they live.

Unfinished Work explores a
world in the midst of a revolution that will have far-reaching
consequences for present and coming generations. Coleman maps out the
problems we confront, shows us avenues forward, and illustrates the
dangers of inaction. The engaging narrative reveals how accommodating
our aging workforce can usher in humane policies that benefit workers
across the spectrum of age. Improving conditions for older workers is
critical for ensuring success and prosperity for society as a whole for
years to come.

Publication Details

Unfinished Work: The Struggle to Build an Aging American Workforce
Coleman, Joseph M.
University of Oxford / Oxford University Press
Publish Date
February 2015
Coleman, Joseph M., Unfinished Work: The Struggle to Build an Aging American Workforce (University of Oxford / Oxford University Press, February 2015).