Work Strain and Age Discrimination Among Older Employees – Identifying Challenges for Age-Friendly Work Places
Facing the challenge of an ageing workforce that has to sustain an increasing number of retirees, governments across Europe take measures to
A web survey was conducted among older employees (50+) and their managers in organisations in Austria, Germany, Romania and the Netherlands (n=1.250). Data comprises exposure to work-related stressors (i.e. time pressure, age discrimination), mediators (i.e. coping strategies, team support) and psychological and physiological long- and short-term stress outcomes. Based on the results a software system to create age-friendly workplaces is being developed.
Results & Conclusions:
Results show that older employees are exposed to both time-related and social stressors at the workplace and a high percentage expresses symptoms of physical and psychological stress. Positive social relationship at the workplace could buffer these stressors – however, stressors and stress mediators are significantly correlated and often create a ‘triple whammy’ effect (exposure to stressors, lack of social resources and restricted coping), thus increasing social inequalities within the group of older adults. Beyond, data reveals that negative age stereotypes pose a major challenge for creating age-friendly workplaces. Age-friendly workplaces need new forms of leadership with sensitivity to hidden forms of age-discrimination.