Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Work Engagement of Older Employees: Do Employee and Work-Related Factors Matter?

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Work Engagement of Older Employees: Do Employee and Work-Related Factors Matter?

Article excerpt


The aging of population is seen as one of the most concerning social phenomenon of this century. Many countries have to deal with this problem, except some of African and Asian countries. The explanation resides in the fact that in Europe the fertility rate is 1.5, while in Africa it is on average 4.6 children per woman. Meanwhile, the fertility level in other continents achieves the following average ratio: in Oceania - 2.5, Latin America - 2.3, North America and Asia - about 2. Meanwhile, some forecasts suggest that one of five individuals will be older than 60 years in the middle of the XXIst century (Department of Economic and..., 2015).

It is frequently observed that young families decide to have children only after completed studies and integration into the labor market. These decisions of young individuals and the demographic situation impacted the critical level of fertility rate and also have its negative influence on some other socially important areas, like the pension system etc. The labor force is also aging. The EU statistical data reveals that older individuals comprised 42,2% of all employees in 2005; 46,7% - in 2010 and 53,3% - in 2015 (Eurostat, 2016). Therefore, legislators, institutions, politicians, employers, managers, employees of all ages and the whole society are facing new challenges (Vasconcelos, 2015).

The European Commission sets ambitious targets to boost economic activity of older individuals through the pension systems. Thus, unfavorable demographic situation has led to the extension of the retirement age in the EU and older employees have to remain active at the labor market longer than before. While social partners suggest various initiatives that allow older employees remain active at the labor market (Flynn, 2010), employers also aim to encourage older employees to delay the retirement.

The aging of population and the growth of older employees' percentage in organizations are interrelated with the integration of older employees at the labor market (Bejtkovský, 2016). Thus, from the human resource management perspective, it is important to understand the factors facilitating work engagement of older employees. These considerations have to be taken into account while human resource management strategy is developed. The current situation reveals that employers prefer to hire younger individuals with appropriate education. In comparison to younger employees, older employees are less engaged in work. This issue can be explained by the rapid development of information technologies, constant learning and adaptation process, which are less accepted by older employees. In addition, older generation is less familiar with lifelong learning, while it has to cope with deteriorating health problems etc.

The literature on older employees and the factors impacting their work engagement is expanding, however, a number of investigations have been carried out in the developed countries context. Meanwhile, investigations, carried out in the emerging markets' context are limited in number (Goštautaitė, 2014; Goštautaitė & Bučiūnienė, 2015). Thus, investigation of factors impacting work engagement of the older employees is a fruitful venue in scientific literature. Grounded on the prevailing theories, this paper aims to investigate employee- and work-related factors. The paper is structured as follows. First, work-, employee- and age-related factors and characteristics are revised. The next section defines the research sample, research methodology and data composition. The next section presents the research findings and discussion. Finally, conclusions and recommendations for future investigations are suggested.

1.Factors determining work engagement of older employees

Scientific studies, focused on work engagement of older employees', define this phenomenon as employees' self-determined work and intentions to remain with current employer. Thus, the researchers considered work engagement as a relatively stable motivational and individual difference variable (Park & Gursoy, 2012). …

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