Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Work Employment & Society" Publishes Series of Articles Exploring Workforce Aging

In its February 2012 issue of Work Employment & Society, the British Sociological Association has published three articles based on different research into workforce aging:

"Ageing, skills and participation in work-related training in Britain: assessing the position of older workers," by Jesus Canduela, Matthew Dutton, Steve Johnson, Colin Lindsay, Ronald W McQuaid, and Robert Raeside.
Policy makers have introduced a number of measures to encourage older workers to stay in the labour market, with improving access to training a particular priority. Policy action appeared justified by evidence that older workers are less likely to participate in training, and more likely to have never been offered training by employers – a key finding of Taylor and Urwin’s (2001) review of Labour Force Survey (LFS) data from 1997. This article models LFS data from 2007 to assess whether age remained a predictor of inequalities in training. It finds that men over 50 remained among those least likely to have been offered training by employers. There were other significant inequalities in participation, suggesting a polarization in access to jobs that offer opportunities for training and progression. The article concludes that policies promoting ‘active ageing’ need to challenge negative employer attitudes and acknowledge fundamental inequalities in access to skills.
"Gender, age and ageism: experiences of women managers in Finland and Scotland" by Marjut Jyrkinen and Linda McKie.
This article explores the intersectionality of gender and age in work and careers of women managers. Interviews were conducted with women senior managers in two EU countries, namely Finland and Scotland. These countries have demographic and economic similarities, but there are differences in welfare regimes, economies and employment policies. Using the approach of biographical matching the article compares how women managers in these countries encounter gendered ageism in the different stages of their careers. Data illustrate the myriad ways in which women experience ageism and lookism. The conclusion reflects upon these processes of gendering management which persist across these two labour markets
"Working past 65 in the UK and the USA: segregation into ‘Lopaq’ occupations?" by David Lain.
A prominent business case for employing older people in the 2000s suggests diverse employment opportunities existed for Britons over 65, despite their limited employment rights. However, it is hypothesized that employees over 65 were disproportionately segregated into less desired ‘Lopaq’ occupations: these were low paid, required few qualifications and were often part-time. The UK is contrasted with the USA, a country with long-established age discrimination legislation; the Labour Force Survey and Current Population Survey are analysed. A greater UK concentration in Lopaq occupations suggests employers, working in a context of limited employee rights, selectively retained and recruited people in their 60s to these jobs. An alternative explanation, that Lopaq employment levels reflected the characteristics of those choosing to work, is unsupported by logistic regression analysis. US evidence suggests that the 2011 default retirement age abolition will weaken UK Lopaq occupational segregation after 65 more than voluntaristic commitments to ‘age-diversity’.
Source: Work Employment & Society Table of Contents (February 2012)

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