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HRM practices for an ageing Italian workforce: the role of training

Alessandra Lazazzara (Department of Human Sciences at University of Milan‐Bicocca, Milan, Italy)
Maria Cristina Bombelli (Wise Growth, Sesto San Giovanni, Italy)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore ageing trends and age stereotypes about older workers, focusing primarily on the Italian employment context.


Beginning from a review of the literature on ageing, the paper: outlines ageing trends and discriminatory behaviours against older workers in Italy; identifies patterns in the age discrimination phenomenon based on organisational characteristics; describes training‐based good practices for enhancing the employability of older workers, as implemented by an Italian energy company; presents a range of best practices for age management.


Despite trends towards an ageing general population and an ageing workforce, there is overwhelming evidence of age discrimination against older workers. This paper reports that the age at which workers may be considered “old” is not clearly defined in the literature and that age discrimination does not follow the same pattern across work contexts. In particular, both organisational characteristics and the particular position held by the employee influence discriminatory behaviour towards older workers on the part of employers. Furthermore, although older workers enjoy fewer training opportunities, training is the most widespread policy for dealing with age discrimination.

Practical implications

This paper points up important implications for human resource professionals and employers with regard to how to optimize an ageing workforce scenario.


The paper provides an in‐depth overview of ageing trends within Italian society and culture and outlines the possible implications for both older workers and organisations.



Lazazzara, A. and Bombelli, M.C. (2011), "HRM practices for an ageing Italian workforce: the role of training", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 35 No. 8, pp. 808-825.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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