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Managing employees beyond age 65: from the margins to the mainstream?

David Lain (Brighton Business School, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK)
Wendy Loretto (Business School, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 1 August 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Against a backdrop of legislative and policy changes, this paper assesses the extent to which the over-65 age-group is moving from the margins to the mainstream of UK employment. The purpose of this paper is to fill a gap in HR research and practice which, it is argued, has paid relatively little attention to the over-65s.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis draws on three waves of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (2001, 2008, 2014), to explore the extent to which organisational, occupational and sectoral marginalisation of the over-65s has changed in the twenty-first century.

Findings

The results show that the share of 65-69 year olds working as employees doubled between 2001 and 2014, primarily because long-term established employees worked longer. Overrepresentations of lower-level “Lopaq” occupations reduced, and over-65s became more integrated across occupations and sectors.

Research limitations/implications

More research is needed to understand the factors driving the steady move from the margins to the mainstream (e.g. LFS does not measure pensions), and future research on the older workforce should automatically include workers in this age-group.

Practical implications

The discussion considers the implications for managerial practice, in a context of increasingly age-diverse workforces.

Originality/value

This paper addresses a gap in research into later life working and also demonstrates the ways in which the nature of employment among the over-65s is changing, thereby challenging some of the assumptions about those who work into later life and how they are – or should be managed.

Keywords

Citation

Lain, D. and Loretto, W. (2016), "Managing employees beyond age 65: from the margins to the mainstream?", Employee Relations, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 646-664. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-04-2015-0062

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited