Employers’ adjustment to longer working lives

The aging of the workforce and the trend towards longer working lives has substantial implications, not only for employees, but also for employers. The aim of this study is to quantitatively investigate the extent to which employers have implemented human resource (HR) practices aimed at facilitating longer working lives. Data from 1358 Dutch employers, collected in 2017, are used to study the ways in which employers have adjusted their HR practices. Using structural equation modeling, we identify three main types of practices: information-related, health-related, and related to person-job fit. Results show that employers have largely started to adjust their HR practices to make longer working lives more attainable. Especially larger organizations are highly active in using HR practices to enhance the long-term employment perspectives for their employees. Employers that are concerned about the mental fitness of their workforce in relation to longer working lives are also highly likely to invest in adjustment HR practices. Organizations with a high proportion of older workers are mostly focused on providing information. The HR practices that are implemented by employers to facilitate longer working lives are different from those traditionally associated with an older workforce, implying a fundamental shift in employers’ focus. Instead of promoting the exit of older workers and accommodating older workers specifically, employers are now moving towards providing information, promoting healthy habits and improving long-term person-job fit, also including early- and mid-career workers.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk. Netspar is gericht op een goed geïnformeerd pensioendebat.


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