Health Care Workers’ Motives for and Experiences of Working in Late Age

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Carita BENGS, Umeå university, Sweden
Mikael STATTIN, Department of sociology, Umeå university, Sweden
Ageing populations create a number of challenges for labour markets, and extending working lives has emerged as one possible solution among policy makers. Labour shortages combined with high retirement rates means that employers increasingly face difficulties finding experienced and skilled labour. The possibility to retain older workers is therefore considered as a key challenge for employers in both the private and public sector. However, research shows that although the interest in retaining older workers has recently increased, few organizations have well defined age management strategies in place. To develop such strategies, knowledge of what may facilitate labour force participation in late age is needed. This includes a better understanding of older workers’ own experiences and perceptions of their role in the workplace. Therefore, in this paper we explore older workers’ own motives for and experiences of their careers after the age of 65. The study draws on qualitative data derived from a survey of employees working in a large health care organisation in Sweden. Eighty-six employees, from various occupations, shared their positive and negative experiences, including their views on the hindrances and promoters they have encountered in this late stage of their careers. Participants commonly identified interesting and stimulating work as a motivation to continue working, and this reason was often paired with a wish to make use of the substantial knowledge and expertise gained over the years. Participants also identified a lack of appreciation and flexibility as problematic, among other organisational drawbacks and difficulties. Findings also indicate differences in prolonging the working life based on occupational and socioeconomic status. We conclude the paper by pointing to relevant areas for organisational interventions.