Old and out? Age, learning and employability

Workforces across the world are aging, and governments are taking more and more policy actions to encourage aging workers to extend their working lives beyond the usual retirement age. In addition, employers are stimulated to retain older workers and act accordingly to sustain their employability (Dymock, Billett, Klieve, Johnson & Martin, 2012). However, in Europe, the employment prospects of older workers remain weak. People above the age of 50 are often the first to be fired and the last to be recruited. If aging societies are to continue to prosper, aging workers need to stay active in the labour market. Moreover, the demand for labour and skills is exceeding supply across diverse economic sectors (Armstrong-Stassen & Schlosser, 2008). Employers in Europe need to realize that the recruitment pool of the future will be disproportionately composed of aging workers, who are confronted with changing job requirements (Pillay, Kelly & Tones, 2006). Therefore, it is important to facilitate the learning and development of aging workers. If aging workers do not learn, their job-related knowledge and skills can become outdated or obsolete. Consequently, these workers are most likely to leave the labour market early, either voluntarily or involuntarily (Armstrong-Stassen & Schlosser, 2008). Furthermore, as traditional careers with long-term employment in a single organization are disappearing, greater self-direction in learning is encouraged (Raemdonck, 2006).

  • Dr. Isabel Raemdonck, University Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
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  • 2016-10-06