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The aging workforce: Perceptions of career ending

Listed author(s):
  • Buyens, D.


  • Van Dijk, H.


  • Dewilde, T.


  • Vlaminckx, A.
  • De Vos, A.


    (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)

Purpose - The purpose of this study is twofold. The first is to relate the negative image of older workers to stereotype threat and propose that effective retention management should start with the replacement of this negative image. The second is to assess the needs, perceptions and preferences of older workers regarding their career-ending. Design/methodology/approach - 266 employer questionnaires and 1290 older worker questionnaires identified the employers’ perceptions of older workers and the career-ending needs and preferences of older workers. Findings - The results provide indirect support for the hypothesis that the negative image of older workers forms a self-fulfilling prophecy due to mechanisms of stereotype threat. Furthermore, the results indicate that job involvement plays a crucial role in the preference to retire or keep on working. Research limitations/implications – Stereotype threat promises to be of significant relevance for the career-ending measures of older workers. However, the empirical design of the study limits the possibility to draw direct inferences about the effects of stereotype threat on older workers. Practical implications - Measures and policies aimed at prolonging the participation of older workers at the labor market should be tailored to the specific needs, perceptions and preferences of older workers. Originality/value – The concept of stereotype threat has never been connected with popular perceptions of older workers. Further, the assessment of the needs, perceptions and preferences related to the career-ending of older workers has never been done in European studies.

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Paper provided by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in its series Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series with number 2007-29.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 26 Nov 2007
Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2007-29
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