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How do employers think about older workers?

Hila Axelrad (School of Social and Policy Studies, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)
Alexandra Kalev (Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)
Noah Lewin-Epstein (Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Article publication date: 14 September 2021

Issue publication date: 30 May 2022

626

Abstract

Purpose

Higher pensionable age in many countries that are part of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and a shrinking pension income force older people to postpone their retirement. Yet, age-based discrimination in employers' decisions is a significant barrier to their employment. Hence, this paper aims to explore employers' attitudes regarding the employment of workers aged 60–70, striving for a better understanding of age discrimination.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 30 managers, experts and employees in retirement age in Israel.

Findings

Findings reveal a spectrum of employers' attitudes toward the employment of older workers. The authors' analytical contribution is a conceptual typology based on employers' perceived ability to employ older workers and their stated attitudes toward the employment of older workers.

Social implications

The insights that emerge from this research are fundamental for organizational actors' ability to expand the productive, unbiased employment of older workers.

Originality/value

By understanding employers' preferences and perspectives and the implications on employers' ability and/or willingness to employ older workers, this research will help policymakers formulate and implement policy innovations that address these biases.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research, on which this paper is based, was supported by Yitzhak Shamir Scholarship to returning scientists given by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel, to the first author. The authors are also extremely grateful to Vehadarata association for their help and support.

Conflict of Interest – None

Funding: The research was supported by Yitzhak Shamir Scholarship to returning scientists given by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology. This study was also partially supported by research grant 2760/61 from the Israel Science Foundation to Noah Lewin-Epdstein. And partially supported by a research grant from the Alfred A. Sloan Foundation “Working Longer: Synthesizing Findings from Sloan's Working Longer Program for Academic Leaders”.

Citation

Axelrad, H., Kalev, A. and Lewin-Epstein, N. (2022), "How do employers think about older workers?", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 201-220. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-10-2019-1830

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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