A qualitative analysis of older workers' perceptions of stereotypes, successful ageing strategies and human resource management practices

Because of the progressive ageing of the world’s population in the last 25 years, the contributions of older age groups of workers have become increasingly important in many countries. Yet, older workers (those aged 55 years and over) are not always utilised or valued as much as they could be in the workplace. As a part of an EU funded cross-cultural and cross-sectoral programme we are investigating what features of work and work environment both older workers and Human Resource managers find increasingly important for older workers’ well-being and performance. We are discussing workers’ individual approaches in the utilisation of successful ageing strategies as well as the types of organisational support valued by older workers. Our findings based on a literature review and interview data from over 40 interviews in nine employment organisations from two countries (United Kingdom and Bulgaria) and two industrial sectors (healthcare and IT) suggest that workers in their late career are likely to acknowledge the occurrence of some age-related changes in their work values, needs, approaches and capacity. These changes, in turn shape workers’ views about the types of work environment and organisational support they want.