The employability of older workers: what works?

Tony Maltby

in The future for older workers

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847424181
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303800 | DOI:
The employability of older workers: what works?

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The everyday, localised experiences and perceptions of older people in accessing paid work, and their retention and progression in employment, are under-researched and undocumented. Often studies concentrate on the implementation of policy at the national level and at the level of the firm. This chapter provides a different perspective as it reports on a participatory and empowering qualitative ‘action research’ project conducted and funded as a part of the Equal Community Initiative's Forward Development Partnership, which was based and focused on two communities in England. The Development aimed to consider the issues of access, retention and progression in employment. It also offered practical localised policy implementation and research evidence to improve the employability of people with disabilities, those needing ‘basic skills’ and ‘older workers’. In the context of the research on the older workers, the main concern is ‘what works’, a list of policy initiatives based on the key findings of the research, and the aim was to improve the employability of this age group. The research showed that a continuing institutional age discrimination by employers, limited accommodation of health problems, and unsatisfactory training provision were limiting factors affecting access, retention and progression of older workers. This chapter hence, builds on this evidence to suggest that better progress might be achieved at the national level through the application of the more holistic work ability approach. This has the aim of enhancing productivity and promoting the sustainability of the workforce. In addition, the chapter also offers a review of the salient policy-focused issues followed by a detailed report on the Equal-funded research, its methodology and findings. The chapter ends with suggestions for a more proactive and holistic approach to policy implementations.

Keywords: paid work; retention; progression; employment; employability of people; age discrimination; unsatisfactory training provision; older workers

Chapter.  8410 words. 

Subjects: Gerontology and Ageing

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