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Older workers’ retirement preparation and roles of corporation top leaders in South Korean workplace

Eunkyung Kim (Department of General Education, Kookmin University, Seongbok-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 19 May 2022

Issue publication date: 9 February 2023




This paper aims to explore how heads in South Korean workplace perceive the retirement preparation of older Korean workers and their roles in accordance with life design perspective.


Qualitative in-person interviews were conducted with top leaders of 15 corporations in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and analyzed by using a conventional content analysis.


Top leaders in corporations consider that older Korean workers whose retirement preparation is their own responsibility have not been actively preparing for their postretirement life. Nevertheless, some of these heads are attempting to assist with career development or career transition. Some believe that older workers should work as long as they are capable and should be retained after the official retirement age.

Research limitations/implications

These exploratory findings are preliminary, and the top-down mechanism might work differently in a specific sector. Future research merits a large-scale investigation of each specific business.

Practical implications

It is implied that policy initiatives should support SMEs with subsidy programs for older workers’ employment, empowering longer working as healthy pathways to postretirement.


This pilot study indicates some degree of possible roles of top corporate leaders for workers’ retirement preparation in terms of career development and career transition and retainment of older workers.



The author extend her gratitude to the current heads of South Korean small and medium-sized enterprises who graciously accepted her interview invitation and shared their valuable insights. Funding: This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea under Grant 2020S1A5B5A17089209.


Kim, E. (2023), "Older workers’ retirement preparation and roles of corporation top leaders in South Korean workplace", Working with Older People, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 59-68.



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