Mature age 'white collar' workers' training and employability

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Journal Article
International Journal of Lifelong Education, 2012, 31 (2), pp. 171 - 186
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Global concerns about the growing impact of ageing populations on workplace productivity and on welfare budgets have led to a range of governmentsupported measures intended to retain and upskill older workers. Yet, a consistent theme in the research literature is that older workers are reluctant and harder to train than younger workers, and that, regardless, employers are ambivalent about supporting such training. However, a survey of over 250 mature-age workers in mainly professional and administrative (i.e. 'white collar') roles identified strong interest and belief in their capacity to engage in learning required to maintain their employability, and that their employers are often supportive of their ongoing education and training. The data also indicate that these workers found personal worth in their work, felt respected and acknowledged by coworkers, and wanted to contribute more fully to their workplaces. These findings not only contradict what is consistently reported elsewhere, but suggest that age per se may not be the factor that shapes perceptions of older workers' employability, but the kinds of employment and level of education held by older workers. Therefore, extending the working lives of these valued 'white collar' workers might need to be realised through continuing to provide them with opportunities for rich work and further development to sustain their capacities and interest in contributing to their work and workplaces. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
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