Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Research: Investigators Report on Worker Disengagement before Retirement

A paper published by Dutch researchers following a panel study finds that, in line with the notion of the preretirement disengagement process, many older employees disengage more from work when getting closer to their planned retirement age. However, according to "Do Older Workers Develop a Short-Timer’s Attitude Prior to Retirement?" written by Marleen Damman, Kène Henkens, and Matthijs Kalmijn, career experiences of promotion and employer change slow down the disengagement process, while Declining health, in contrast, accelerates the process.

The aim of the study was to improve understanding of work disengagement in the pre-retirement period, by examining the impact of proximity to planned retirement (anticipated future) and work, educational, and health experiences (lived past) on pre-retirement work disengagement.
The transition from work to retirement is a complex long-term process. This study clearly shows that the preretirement work disengagement process already starts a couple of years before older workers retire and steadily increases when workers get closer to retirement. Also for workers who have passed their planned retirement age, relatively large increases in work disengagement were found.
Source: Social Science Research Network Abstract (December 21, 2011)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Australia: Study Identifies Barriers Preventing Older Workers from Remaining In or Re-entering in the Workforce

Australia's Minister for Employment Participation, Kate Ellis, has released a report identifying age discrimination, physical illness, injury and disability as key barriers preventing older Australians remaining in or re-entering the workforce. All together, 14 barriers are identified and discussed in "Ageing and the Barriers to Labour Force Participation in Australia," an interim report prepared by the Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation:
discrimination in employment on the basis of age, care-giving responsibilities, flexibility of employment arrangements, issues around private recruitment firm practices, job search assistance, leisure time trade-off, mental health barriers, mismatch of skills and experience with industry demands, physical illness, injury and disability, re-entry issues barriers of the VLTU (Very Long-Term Unemployed), re-training and up-skilling barriers, superannuation, tax-transfer system, and workplace barriers.
According to one analysis, the report found found that a mature worker’s own health--not workplace barriers--was the biggest barrier preventing them from entering the workforce, staying employed or working beyond retirement age. Thus, while "physical illness, injury and disability" was given a 100% importance rating, workplace barriers--such as poor or difficult workplace conditions or environments and physically demanding occupations--was only given 16.7%.

However, the report also noted that "It is important to note that the barriers presented in this paper are not independent of each other. Rather, many are interrelated and policy responses need to recognise this complex reality. As such, responses to these barriers need to involve many stakeholders, including government, employer organisations, employers, trade unions as well as mature age people."
"The Australian Government recognises that older Australians, with their skills built over a lifetime, make a massive contribution to our economy and our community," Ms Ellis said.

"We want to clear the way for older Australians to be able to stay in the workforce if they want to and this means tackling issues such as age discrimination or looking at how workplaces, equipment and jobs can be modified to better suit older Australians.
Source: Minister for Employment Participation Media Release (December 13, 2011)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Australia: Report on Economic Potential Urges Government Action To Improve Labor Participation by Older Workers

The Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians has submitted its third and final report to Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, making recommendations in areas it has found to be vital to enabling senior Australians to actively contribute to all aspects of society. While addressing issues across the aging spectrum, including an aging agenda, housing, lifelong learning, active aging, volunteering and philanthroppy, and age discrimination, the report--"Realising the economic potential of senior Australians: turning grey into gold"--makes a series of recommendations concerning participation in the labor force, including the following:
  1. The federal government must engage peak employer and industry groups to assist individual employers to develop and implement older worker employment strategies, starting with a series of high profile seminars across the country.
  2. All levels of government must embed age diversity within their workforces and model best practice on attracting, developing, and retaining older workers.
  3. The federal government must work with industry to extend flexible work arrangements to people aged 55 and over by amending the law to include the right to request flexible work for this age group or through best practice industry standards.
  4. The federal government must commission a review of the income support framework for people aged between 50 and age pension age (including income thresholds) and
    employment support programs for mature age workers, to ensure individuals have appropriate incentives and assistance to work to their fullest capacity.
  5. The federal government must work with state and territory governments to amend workers’ compensation regimes to ensure older workers are not disadvantaged, convene a roundtable with the insurance industry to examine the availability and affordability of income protection insurance for workers over age 60, and to identify ways of encouraging the private insurance market to offer income protection insurance to workers regardless of their age.
According to Everald Compton, the Panel's Chair:
"Of particular importance will be the ability of seniors to stay in the workforce for a significant period after they reach the 'traditional age for retirement' and their ability to serve Australia as volunteers. We also want senior Australians to help turn Australia into a powerhouse of philanthropy".

"The work of this panel is only the start of action needed to embed a national ageing agenda in Australia", said Everald Compton. "Government of all levels need to continue working together to develop strategies out to 2050 to capitalise on the potential of senior Australians whose aspirations change with every generation".
Source: Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians Media Release (December 12, 2011)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Generations of Talent Study: Effects of Country, Age, and Career Stage on Employes

The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College has published a study of employees' work experience, finding that those 40 years old and older are the most engaged and demonstrate the highest level of organizational commitment, and that those 50 years old and older are the most satisfied with their jobs. The "Generations of Talent Study" assessed the effects of country, age, and career stage among employees worldwide, based on work experiences from 11,298 individuals, working for seven multinational companies, at 24 worksites in 11 countries.

Among other things, the study found that employees working in young-developing countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Botswana) show higher levels of work engagement and organizational commitment than do those in the old-developed countries (Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, UK, U.S.). In contrast, job satisfaction levels are similar on average for employees working in the young-developing countries and in the old-developed countries. Dr. Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, Director of the Sloan Center, noted that "[c]ontrary to popular opinion, older workers are the most engaged, and forward-thinking companies need to begin strategizing about how to capitalize on this asset."

In addition to an overall report on "Effects of “Old-Developed” versus “Young-Developing” Country Type and Age-Related Factors on Work Engagement, Job Satisfaction, & Organizational Commitment," the Sloan Center has published individual reports about the effects of country and age on employees for the following countries:Source: Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College News Release (December 1, 2011)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Calls for Improving Incentives for Older Workers Staying on the Job

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has issued a discussion paper, reinforcing the argument that retaining older workers in the workforce is part of the solution to avoid the skills crisis Canada is on the verge of experiencing, and calling for the removal of disincentives that discourage seniors from working. In "Incenting Seniors to Continue Working," the Chamber set the table for changes as follows:
Seniors represent a constituency that needs to be better integrated into the workforce. They possess the essential skills employers need. Many do want to continue working and view work as an important part of their life balance. Yet, in 2010, only a small percentage of individuals 55 years of age and over were in the labour force.
Accordingly, the paper pinpoints six key areas to be addressed in order to encourage the ongoing participation of seniors in the workforce:
  1. pension reform;
  2. tax reform;
  3. flexibilty in the workplace;
  4. innovative tools dedicated to the hiring of seniors, including online guides and websites;
  5. lifelong learning and training; and
  6. advancing a new business culture aimed first at retaining, rather than replacing, senior workers.
Source: Canadian Chamber of Commerce News Release (December 1, 2011)