Ireland's economy could benefit to the tune of €27 billion in the long term by supporting people over 55 to continue working, according to new research by PwC.

Iceland, New Zealand and Israel are the OECD leaders in boosting employment rates among older workers, PwC's Golden Age Index reveals. 

The current employment rates for workers aged 55-64 in Ireland is 56%. This compares to 84% in Iceland and 78% in New Zealand.

PwC said that between 2015 and 2050, it is estimated that the number of people aged 55 and above in the 35 OECD countries will increase by almost 50% to over 500 million.

The report suggests the economic uplift from people working longer would be combined with significant social and health benefits from older people leading more active lives and having higher self-worth through continuing to work where they wish to do so.

John Hawksworth, PwC's chief economist, said that an ageing population is already putting significant financial pressure on health, social care and pension systems, and this will only increase over time. 

"To help offset these higher costs, we think older workers should be encouraged and supported to remain in the workforce for longer. 

"This would increase GDP, consumer spending power and tax revenues, while also helping to improve the health and wellbeing of older people by keeping them mentally and physically active," the economist added.