Commentary: More behavioural data needed in work and ageing research | Negative relationship between workers’ age and their perceived external employability is significant across many countries | Change in retirement plans among midlife couples during an economic recession
Commentary: More behavioural data needed in work and ageing research
Fabiola H Gerpott, Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock, Susanne Scheibe, Is Work and Ageing Research a Science of Questionnaires? Moving the Field Forward by Considering Perceived Versus Actual Behaviours, Work, Ageing and Retirement, Volume 6, Issue 2, April 2020, Pages 65–70,
Research on work and ageing predominantly relies on self-report data to create new insights relevant to individuals, organisations, and society. Whereas surveys and interviews based on self-reports offer a valuable inward-directed perspective on individuals and their understanding of others, they can only provide limited knowledge on the behaviours of employees at different ages and in age-diverse settings. This is because what employees actually do is often considerably different from their survey-based reports of what they or others do. In this commentary, we challenge the field to move beyond a science of questionnaires by complementing survey research with behavioural data. First, this would allow scholars to identify when and how behaviours accurately translate into surveyed perceptions of behaviours. Second, such an approach can advance our understanding of the micro-dynamics occurring in age-diverse workforces that ultimately manifest in emerging phenomena (e.g., age-inclusive climate, psychological safety perceptions, or group affective tone). Lastly, studying concrete and specific behaviours also allows scholars to develop better interventions and provide meaningful recommendations for practice that differentiate actual from perceived behaviours.
Negative relationship between workers’ age and their perceived external employability is significant across many countries
Dello Russo, S., Parry, E., Bosak, J., Andresen, M., Apospori, E., Bagdadli, S., … & Hall, D. T. (2020). Still feeling employable with growing age? Exploring the moderating effects of developmental HR practices and country-level unemployment rates in the age–employability relationship. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-27.
A compelling issue for organisations and societies at large is to ensure external employability of the workforce across workers’ entire work-life span. Using the frameworks of age norms, stereotyping and age meta-stereotypes, we investigate whether (a) age is negatively related to perceived external employability; and (b) the age-employability link is moderated by HR developmental practices (HRDPs) and unemployment rate. We argue that being aware of stereotypes and age norms in organisations, and holding also meta-stereotypes about their group, older workers perceive themselves as less externally employable. However, the context –HRDPs that one has experienced, and the country unemployment rate – would act as buffers. Using data from a large-scale survey from over 9000 individuals in 30 institutionally diverse countries, we found that the negative relationship between age and perceived external employability was significant across all countries. In addition, at the individual level, we found that HRDPs acted as a buffer for this negative relationship, such that the effect was less pronounced for individuals who have experienced more HRDPs during their working life. At the country level, the hypothesized moderating effect of unemployment rate was not observed. Limitations, future research directions, as well as practical implications of the study are discussed.
Change in Retirement Plans Among Midlife Couples During an Economic Recession
Jeremy B Yorgason, PhD, Dikla Segel-Karpas, PhD, Brandan E Wheeler, PhD, Jerevie Malig Canlas, PhD, Jamie Smith, MS, Change in Retirement Plans Among Midlife Couples During an Economic Recession, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 75, Issue 4, May 2020, Pages 827–836,
Results indicated mean differences in retirement plans between husbands and wives, and also across time that might have been influenced by surrounding economics. Wife poor health, number of children, both spouses working, and financial assets were linked with the likelihood of reporting certainty in retirement plans. Greater retirement uncertainty was predicted by lower marital quality, higher financial adjustments, lower education, and ethnic diversity. Husband and wife reports of retirement plans are not always congruent, and plans in retirement can be affected by large scale changes in the U.S. economy.