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Navigating the challenges of extending working life: a study of employment support services for older workers in Hong Kong

Ka Ki Chan (Independent Scholar, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Tat Chor Au-Yeung (Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 3 June 2024

37

Abstract

Purpose

This research highlights age-specific barriers to employment for older workers and the gap between activation policy design and implementation, focusing on difficulties in extending working life under employment support services.

Design/methodology/approach

This research employed a qualitative approach, utilizing semi-structured interviews to gather perspectives on extending the working lives of older adults. Eighteen experienced social workers who worked in employment support services for older workers who aged fifty-five and above participated in the study.

Findings

This study underscores the importance of comprehensively understanding the heterogeneity of individuals' circumstances and emphasizes the impact of intersectionality on the development of extending working life. It incorporates individual and familial difficulties, including considering caregiving responsibilities, health issues and housing challenges before exploring employment-related concerns. The study also highlights external factors influencing older workers' employment prospects, including employer perspectives, government support levels and public recognition of the necessity to extend working life.

Research limitations/implications

This research sheds light on the impact of welfare-related stigma, which imposes obstacles and inflexibility on older workers seeking employment. It ultimately contributes to the sustainability and dynamism of the Asia–Pacific workforce while also informing regional discussions on social security and welfare services.

Originality/value

It uniquely employs the perspectives of social workers providing employment support services to highlight challenges and policy gaps in extending the working lives of older workers in Hong Kong. It also provides practical insights into strategies and mechanisms for extending working life across diverse social contexts.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We express our gratitude to all participants for their contributions to this study.

Citation

Chan, K.K. and Au-Yeung, T.C. (2024), "Navigating the challenges of extending working life: a study of employment support services for older workers in Hong Kong", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-03-2024-0132

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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