Posted by suzanne on Feb 1, 2017
Older adults are continuing to work into their later years. They work for meaning, purpose, engagement, stimulation…and a paycheque.
Some individuals retire, then decide it is time to go back to work.
This is a beautiful video telling the story of one woman who retired, then decided to keep working into her later years.
Mature and experienced workers have a lot to offer. It is challenging and rewarding to redirect into new occupational pursuits.
Posted by suzanne on Aug 29, 2016
Work and occupation are important across the life course. It is a great thrill to share the most recent research on work and aging at the upcoming CAG annual scientific and educational meeting to be held in Montreal, Quebec. At this year’s conference, I am chairing two Symposia on work and aging. I have invited some esteemed scholars to present their work. The Symposia are to be held on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016.
During the first Symposium, I will be discussing the Redirection Project. During the second Symposium, I am sharing the documentary film Redirection: Movers, Shakers and Shifters which helps bring key issues from my Redirection Project to a broader audience.
Symposium I: Policy Imperatives for Later Life Work
It is very exciting to have scholars presenting on issues surrounding work and aging and gratifying to see this much attention devoted to work and occupation as people age at CAG. As a broad gerontological topic, work and aging is particularly relevant and timely as the large cohort of baby boomers approach later life and gain their own perspective on being mature and experienced workers.
Posted by suzanne on May 25, 2016
This trend is occurring for many reasons. Some people cannot afford to retire. They need to pay bills. They need to be gainfully employed past traditional retirement age. They have not saved enough to retire. They are in debt. In other words, they cannot retire and live on a fixed income.
CBC Radio’s The Current highlighted the challenges of some of these individuals. Listen to the podcast.
Other people want to continue working. They gain a great deal from their paid work. For example, work provides self worth and self-esteem, mental stimulation, physical activity and social relationships. Some of these individuals might have retirement savings, so income generation is viewed as a benefit but it is not the primary motivation. They might be professionals who are highly educated. They believe they have more to contribute; they are not ready to retire.
When I started conducting the Redirection Project and investigating later life career development, career shift and career extension, I recognized that there is a dichotomy among older workers. Some must work; some want to work. It is great to hear from older adults about their diverse experiences (and the surveys are still available for participation). Both of these experiences are important to understand; hence, I developed the on-line surveys to reflect both sets of circumstances. The fact is that socio-economic circumstances have changed a great deal since the retirement system was developed.
Indeed, paid work during later life is important. Paid work represents many things to individuals. Motivations for later life paid work are complex. This new trend is a big shift from the previous model of retirement. It is a big shift within workplaces as well. Policy to address this social change must be carefully handed.
This is why the qualitative and quantitative datasets collected through the Redirection Project are critical for gaining a better understanding of later life career development and employment experiences and informing social policy, organizational programs and career development practice. For more information about the Redirection Project, please visit www.MyRedirection.com.
Posted by suzanne on Feb 16, 2016
The workforce is aging and the mature workforce has distinct benefits to offer employers. Leading-edge organizations are beginning to understand this. It is exciting to see the strengths of older workers being recognized in Canadian workplaces.
This is because older workers have many benefits to offer employers. At the same time, human resources professionals have a key role to play regarding the career development of older workers. They can develop strategies that move older workers into roles that enhance workforce effectiveness and organizational productivity. In fact, to meet organizational objectives there are five areas for human resources professionals to focus on:
- Identifying new career pathways
- Adjusting the organization with HR strategy
- Redirection reset button
- New career challenges and projects
- Career development, beyond traditional retirement
As I outline in the January 2016 issue of HRPA magazine, it is critical to pay attention to these issues. Managers and human resource professionals who understand what an aging society means for their workforce can leverage mature workers in their organization. For more information, I invite you to read pages 31 and 32 here.
Posted by suzanne on Jan 31, 2016
It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to focus on Canada’s aging workforce at the recent symposium devoted to this topic. In fact, since presenting at CEDEC‘s Maturing Workforce Symposium held at Cannexus16 a few days ago, I have continued to reflect on some critical issues.
The aging population equates to an aging labour force and this has implications at the individual, organizational and societal level. These complex issues demand employer policy as well as social policy to help address them.
Life spans have increased and individuals are responsible for saving more for their retirement at the same time that financial markets and investment returns are shaky. It is no wonder various polls report that more people expect to continue working past traditional retirement age.
Mature or older workers have different goals and needs than younger age groups. They want flexibility from employers. They need career pathways that help them meet specific objectives.
Both the way we work and the linear career path of the past have changed. This collides with our intergenerational workplace and makes it urgent that employers create new programs and policies to facilitate talent management, training and development and career progression.
Later life career development is new terrain in the work-life landscape. Navigating job change and moving into mentorship roles are difficult tasks. In addition, succession planning and knowledge transfer need to be mapped out. Businesses and organizations are trying to identify and understand what this means in their workplace.
With these powerful demographic and economic forces, we are undergoing a major social and cultural shift surrounding later life work and retirement. We are in a revolutionary transition and social policy is required to help guide and manage this significant change that will affect established social structures in Canada. New evidence-based policies and programs are required.
Finally, these issues are complex. Collaboration and partnership are required to navigate this emerging later life landscape.
Posted by suzanne on Nov 30, 2015
A few people have asked me about the term ‘Financial Gerontology’.
As a field, gerontology (the study of aging) consists of many disciplines such as health, psychology, sociology, education, law and political science, to name a few. It is interdisciplinary in nature.
Gerontologists work on both micro and macro levels. Certainly, financial issues come into play at a societal (e.g. socio-economic issues and social policy) level as well as at the individual level (e.g. later life work and income, wealth generation and savings, financial management, etc.).
Financial gerontology is the study of aging and the related financial, business and economic issues. This emerging field developed when this term was first coined in 1988.
Traditionally, the financial aspects of aging have been a bit on the periphery within the study of aging, a part of gerontology and issues of aging, but not in the forefront. Regardless, financial and economic issues, including later life work and employment, poverty and low-income seniors, pension plans and retirement savings, are linked to gerontology and a part of the field of gerontology. These are important personal and public policy issues.
In this low-growth, economically sluggish climate, I predict that all of these issues will become increasingly important to society as well as to gerontologists and the older adults they study and serve.
More on this topic is available here: