Institute for Ageing

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Better environments for an ageing workforce

Newcastle University Business School has been awarded a €300,000 research project by the European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Division.

The goal of the project is to support social partners (trade unions and employers) in promoting healthier workplaces so that older employees, can lead productive and valuable careers.

The project will investigate activities of social partners in developing agendas for developing and embedding active ageing policies within workplaces.

As part of the project, workshops will be carried out in twenty workplaces across the UK, Poland, Spain and Italy. The aim is to create a training programme for social partners; helping to promote active ageing in the workplace with a blueprint that takes experiences of all stakeholders involved.

Along with Newcastle University Business School, the project partners are University of Granada, University of Lodz and ADAPT Italy. It will bring together some of European universities’ foremost experts in ageing, industrial relations and human resource management.

Need for older workers

As the proportion of over 65s increases, we will be forced to reconsider what is meant by ‘working age’. Almost five million people over 65 were in employment in 2014, a remarkable increase of 48% from 3.3 million in 2004 to 4.9 million in 2014 .

While some of these older workers remain in employment primarily for financial need, many others continue to work for reasons in addition to financial gain, such as job satisfaction.

While this raises issues related to pensions and the accrual of pension income during working life, another factor to consider is the need to make working life for the older population as safe and inclusive as possible. Dr Matt Flynn, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management in Newcastle University Business School comments: “It is vital that we have a solid understanding of ageing societies in the world of work if we are to provide the best environments for a growing segment of the population.

“By creating workplaces that accommodate older workers in the right way, we have a better chance of allowing people to work for longer, contribute to the economy, yet not negatively impact their health in the long run.”

published on: 19 December 2016