Netspar Brief: Maintaining older workers’ job proficiency requires better HR policy

  • Andries de Grip Andries de Grip
  • Didier Fouarge Didier Fouarge
  • Raymond Montizaan Raymond Montizaan

With the reforms to the Dutch pension system, employers and employees have had to accept the fact that workers must stay on the job longer. However, job opportunities are limited for older workers, while existing HR tools are inadequate for facilitating ongoing employment that is productive and enjoyable. Of particular concern is the fact that special provisions for older workers remain prominent in many places, whereas the types of HR tools that truly motivate people, such as offering education and training to help employees keep their skills up-to-date, are being cut back.

This Netspar Brief  (only available in Dutch) presents a study by Andries de Grip, Didier Fouarge, and Raymond Montizaan that shows how current HR policy needs to change to help people remain productive and happy on the job for longer. Andries de Grip summarizes the major findings in this video.

The most important conclusions:

  1. The reform of the pensions system requires people to continue working for longer, but this is not enough to keep their accrual of pension entitlement at the required level.
  2. The requirement to work for longer is likely to undermine employees’ motivation and job satisfaction.
  3. Many employers do not consider it important for staff to continue working for longer, and state that the relative productivity of more senior staff is not in keeping with wage costs.
  4. Effective HR policy is required to encourage people to work for longer. At present, many organizations’ HR policy places too much emphasis on measures such as extra days off, intended to reduce the workload of senior staff, rather than on training which would allow them to remain productive and derive full job satisfaction in their remaining years in employment.
  5. Employees welcome opportunities for training and advancement. They provide motivation and they increase productivity, even among those who do not avail themselves of such opportunities.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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