Fast-Aging Workforce Could Push Greece’s Retirement Age to 73

FILE - An elderly man passes by homeless men in Athens. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – A shrinking population in Greece also means a rapidly-aging workforce that could mean drastic changes in financing pension benefits and lifting the retirement age as high as 73 from today’s 67, a report has found.

The study by Panteion University academics Savvas Robolis and Vassilis Betsis, which was seen by Kathimerini, foresaw hikes in social security contributions as much as 35 percent as many companies have been trying to avoid paying altogether.

That would lift the contributions from 20 to 27 percent for the main social insurance and from 6 to 8.1 percent for auxiliary social security, the report, adding that the only alternative is raising the retirement age again.

The workforce will shrink from 4.7 million people in 2016 to just 3.07 million by 2070, as the over-65s will increase from 2.31 million in 2016 to 2.61 million in 2070, the authors said they also found.

The study, which examines different options for covering the financing deficit from the aging of the population, said another solution is more productivity in a country notorious for inefficient bureaucracy.

It argued Greece’s productivity must rise annually by 1.7 percent for the next 42 years, until the year 2060, as another way to cover the deficit from the aging of the population by 98 percent.