Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Employers’ use of older workers in the recession

an article by Vanessa Beck, (University of Leicester, UK) published in Employee Relations Volume 35 Issue 3 (2013)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the degree to which there have been changes during the recession in the behaviour of employers with regards to their employment of older workers. The paper aims to show that there has been substantial change since the last recession and that there are, potentially, significant developments still occurring.

A small group of employers from a range of sectors were interviewed twice, once at the outset of the (first) recession and once towards its end.

The situation for older workers in employment is better than in previous recessions, mainly because employers are less likely to resort to redundancies for workers of all ages. Instead, a range of flexible working options are being utilised, including flexible retirement and adjustments to work processes. In the main the flexibility was instituted and controlled by the organisations. Employers are looking for alternative strategies to deal with a shift in control over the retirement process as a result of the abolishment of the default retirement age.

Research limitations/implications
The research was undertaken with a small sample, which has implications for the generalizability of the results. Although it would be difficult to further investigate the developments of employer behaviour during the recession, the long-term implications and the effects of the recession, in particular on older workers, are yet to emerge.

The paper shows a new development in dealing with older workers during a recession.

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