Tuesday, May 26, 2009

United Kingdom: Older Workers Worried about Recession

Workers aged 50 and over in the United Kingdom are worried about a recession double whammy according to a survey released by Help the Aged and Age Concern: afraid they will be forced out of their jobs due to their age and worried that their retirement incomes will be decimated by the recession. On the job front, 28% fear that their age will see them forced out of jobs if their employer decides to reduce staff numbers due to the economic downturn; and on the retirement income front, 47% said they are less confident than six months ago that their pension and savings will provide them with a comfortable standard of living in retirement.
This situation means for many‚ continuing working and retaining earning potential is more important than ever before. A massive 60 per cent of respondents said the recession has meant they will have to or want to work longer than originally planned. Yet‚ the economic situation and the lack of support available for over 50s who do lose their job will leave many of them permanently out of work and facing a long and difficult retirement.
Source: Age Concern News Release (May 26, 2009)

Friday, May 15, 2009

OECD Urges Countries: Don't Lump Older Workers among Disabled

Addressing policy challenges for disabled workers in a time of high unemployment, the OECD co-sponsored a High-Level Forum on Sickness, Disability and Work and, in its final communique, warned against repeating the mistakes of the past where in previous economic downturns, many older workers who lost their jobs were pushed onto disability benefit rolls rather than unemployment benefit schemes.
"While this may seem a harmless short-term measure, we now know that most people who receive a disability benefit for more than a year will never work again," said John Martin, OECD Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. "It is crucial that governments align short-term social protection measures taken in response to the downturn, with longer-term goals of economic security and strong labour force participation."
As one of the background papers showed, older workers dominate the disability benefit rolls.

For links to other information, see OECD's "Sickness, Disability and Work" project.

Source: High-Level Forum on Sickness, Disability and Work Final Communique (May 15, 2009)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Research: Second Careers for Older Workers

AARP's Public Policy Institute has published a research report examining the characteristics of workers who change careers in late life, finding, among other things that later-life career change seems to be an important part of the retirement process. According to "Older Workers on the Move: Recareering in Later Life", authored by Richard W. Johnson, Janette Kawachi, and Eric K. Lewis of The Urban Institute, nearly two-thirds of workers who change jobs (and 27% of all older workers) switch occupations.

Called such career changes "recareering," the study reports that workers who change careers typically move into jobs that pay less and offer fewer benefits. However, the new careers tend to offer more flexible work arrangements, less stressful working conditions, and fewer managerial responsibilities. For workers interested in delaying retirement after long careers, such jobs may be just what they are looking for. In addition, the study finds that late-life occupational change is more common among men because women are less likely to continue working if they leave an employer in their fifties.
The research concludes that later-life career change seems to be an important part of the retirement process. Many changers later in life appear to be pushed into new lines of work involuntarily following job layoffs or business closings. Others, however, appear to place a high premium on leaving 9-5 work and moving into more flexible positions, even at less pay. Some older workers may change careers in hopes of finding more meaningful jobs that give added purpose to their lives.
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute Research Report (May 2009)