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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Wieteke S. Conen, Hendrik P. van Dalen and Kène Henkens

The purpose of this paper is to examine employers’ perceptions of changes in the labour cost‐productivity gap due to the ageing of the workforce, the effects of tenure…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine employers’ perceptions of changes in the labour cost‐productivity gap due to the ageing of the workforce, the effects of tenure wages and employment protection on the perceived gap, and whether a perceived labour cost‐productivity gap affects employers’ recruitment and retention behaviour towards older workers.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyse surveys administered to employers in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.

Findings

Approximately half of employers associate the ageing of the personnel with a growing gap between labour costs and productivity. Both the presence of tenure wages and employment protection rules increase the probability of employers perceiving a widening labour cost‐productivity gap due to the ageing of their workforce. A counterfactual shows that even when employment protection and tenure wage systems are abolished, 40 percent of employers expect a net cost increase. The expected labour cost‐productivity gap negatively affects both recruitment and retention of older workers.

Originality/value

In this paper, the wage‐productivity gap is examined through the perceptions of employers using an international comparative survey.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Wieteke S. Conen, Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers

Although policymakers have put great efforts into the promotion of older workers’ labour force participation, quantitative empirical knowledge about employers’ views…

Abstract

Purpose

Although policymakers have put great efforts into the promotion of older workers’ labour force participation, quantitative empirical knowledge about employers’ views towards extension of working lives is limited. The purpose of this paper is to improve the understanding of employers’ attitudes and actions towards extension of working lives, by examining recruitment and retention behaviour towards older workers, employers’ views on the consequences of an ageing workforce, organisational policies, and what governments can do to extend working lives.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyse surveys administered to employers in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK in 2009.

Findings

It is found that a minority of employers have applied measures to recruit or retain older workers, and employers rather retain than hire older workers. A considerable share of employers, albeit to different degrees per country, associate the ageing of their staff with a growing gap between labour costs and productivity. Employers expecting a larger gap do not apply more organisational measures to either increase productivity or adjust the cost‐productivity balance. Employers may think the cost‐productivity issue is partly for governments to solve; employers expecting a larger cost‐productivity gap consider wage subsidies to be an effective measure to extend working lives.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the employers’ perspective, one that is often neglected compared to attitudes and behaviour of older workers themselves and research on institutional arrangements. This paper is also among the first to report on employers’ policies and practices from a cross‐national perspective.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 April 2014

Yehuda Baruch, Susan Sayce and Andros Gregoriou

– The purpose of this paper is to explore potential benefits and possible pitfalls of the removal of the default retirement age.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore potential benefits and possible pitfalls of the removal of the default retirement age.

Design/methodology/approach

A human capital and labour market perspective provide theoretical lenses for exploring the potential implications for individuals, organizations and societies. The paper employs financial costing analysis to demonstrate.

Findings

The paper uses the UK case to illustrate anticipated managerial and societal outcomes. The main finding from the discussion and the financial analysis is that indeed the current system is unsustainable.

Originality/value

The paper offers areas where lessons about age management can be learnt from other experiences of flexible retirement strategies such as enhancing older workers ' human capital. The idea is of global nature and relevance and forms a “wake-up call” for decision makers at national level.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 43 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Frerich Frerichs, Robert Lindley, Paula Aleksandrowicz, Beate Baldauf and Sheila Galloway

The purpose of this paper is to review good practice examples which promote recruitment and retention of older workers and/or the employability of workers as they age and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review good practice examples which promote recruitment and retention of older workers and/or the employability of workers as they age and to examine pathways of practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Analysis of qualitative data, drawing on a cross‐section selection of 83 good practice case studies in labour organisations in eight European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK.

Findings

The study presented good practice examples and pathways of practice for the four most frequently found dimensions in the sample (training, lifelong learning and knowledge transfer; flexible working; health protection and promotion and job design; career development and mobility management) as well as examples from small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) (construction) and the public sector (transport) adopting strategies that fall within these dimensions. These examples show that innovative solutions to the challenge of an ageing workforce have been developed with good outcomes, often combining a number of measures, e.g. mobility management, health promotion and knowledge transfer. However, there is an uneven profile of age management debates and company strategies across Europe (with countries such as Germany and the Netherlands being more advanced). There is also some evidence of a standstill or roll‐back of measures during an economic crisis.

Originality/value

The paper reviews organisational measures facilitating the extension of working lives, of which many are longstanding and include sectors previously underrepresented in good practice databases (SMEs, public sector).

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Andrea Principi, Robert Lindley, Jolanta Perek‐Bialas and Konrad Turek

The purpose of this paper is to shed light on organizational perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of engaging older volunteers, and on how they might best…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to shed light on organizational perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of engaging older volunteers, and on how they might best capitalize on the availability of older volunteers in different countries and sectors.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws from 74 case studies of voluntary organizations carried out in eight European countries, conducted mainly between spring 2009 and autumn 2010. On‐site interviews adopting common guidelines were carried out with organizational representatives.

Findings

From the organizational perspectives, some disadvantages of engaging older volunteers are: difficulties matching older volunteers to tasks; problems relating to health and declining capacities; the need for special training efforts. Examples of perceived advantages are: considerable knowledge, skills, experience, reliability and strong commitment of older volunteers. In spite of the very different contexts, objectives and notions of “performance”, cost‐benefit assessments of older volunteers do not differ greatly from those generally held by employers about older employees. Countries differ considerably in the recognition of older volunteer potential.

Practical implications

Organizational policies and initiatives to capitalize on the availability of older volunteers are examined in the paper. Country and sector‐related reflections show how different and changing are the environments for volunteering. Policy makers need to recognise these when implementing active ageing policies. Voluntary organizations should raise their awareness of the need for innovation in volunteer management, especially relating to older people.

Originality/value

There has been much research about the experiences of older volunteers and how they benefit from the operations of civil society organizations. The perceptions of the organizations have, however, been neglected and these are explored in this paper.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers

The purpose of this paper (overview) is to provide a brief introduction to the topic of active ageing and summarise the seven studies included in this special issue. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper (overview) is to provide a brief introduction to the topic of active ageing and summarise the seven studies included in this special issue. The authors also acknowledge those who were instrumental in bringing this issue to fruition.

Design/methodology/approach

The International Journal of Manpower's usual double‐blind review process was used to select the seven papers included in this special issue. The papers themselves all have a cross‐national perspective using data from eight European countries. These papers represent a wide variety of designs, methodologies and analytic strategies used to study active ageing in the paid labour force as well as in civil society. The papers make use of large‐scale surveys among employers and volunteers, case studies in organisations, and vital statistics.

Findings

The findings of the studies included in this special issue provide insights into the factors and mechanisms that hamper higher participation levels of older adults in paid employment and civil society, and give suggestions on how to improve their inclusion and how to deal with an ageing workforce.

Originality/value

Taken as a collective, the papers in this special issue help propel forward in significant ways the study of active ageing from an international and interdisciplinary perspective.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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