Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the challenges, worldwide of managing an aging workforce. The paper offers suggestions for public policy and for individual organizational approaches to developing, managing and motivating an aging workforce. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews in depth international literature, public policies and corporate policies that deal with an aging workforce. Findings – In virtually every nation in the world, society is aging and the costs to society – on multiple dimensions demand organizational action and changes in public policy. For the first time in recorded history the number of people aged 65+ will exceed those 15 and under starting in 2015. It is also predicted that those 80+ will be greater than those under 15 in Europe by 2060. Originality/value – This paper explores the impact of a worldwide aging society on the management of organizations and the demands that this aging will place on public policy. It addresses the profound impacts of changing dependency ratios on nations and on their future competitiveness.