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Older People and Employment in Scotland

DescriptionInterviews with a mixed group of older people (aged 50+) in central Scotland as well as focus groups with a diverse range of Scottish employers were carried out to examine attitudes and practices surrounding an older workforce.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateAugust 30, 2017


ISBN 978 1 78851 164 3 (web only publication)
PPDAS 284366

This document is also available in pdf format (966 KB)


Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Introduction to the research
1.1 Background to the research
1.2 Current trends
1.3 Research aims and objectives

Chapter 2: Research Methods
2.1 Research design
2.2 Sampling and recruitment of older people
2.2.1 Overview of the older people sample group
2.2.2 Semi-structured interviews
2.3 Recruitment of employers
2.3.1 Employer sample
2.3.2 Employer focus groups and telephone interviews
2.4 Approach to data analysis
2.5 Study Limitations

Chapter 3: The extension of working life: expectations, motivations and aspirations
3.1 Older people's expectations
3.2 Positive motivations for extending working life: choice
3.2.1 Intrinsic enjoyment of the job
3.2.2 Positive impact of work on physical and mental health and well-being
3.3 Negative motivations for extending working life: financial necessity
3.3.1 Desire to retire before state pension age
3.3.2 Loss of access to state benefits
3.3.3 Critical life events
3.4 Sufficiency of pension provision
3.4.1 Lack of information regarding pensions
3.4.2 Rise in state pension age for women
3.5 Employment aspirations in later life
3.5.1 Career development
3.5.2 Part-time working
3.5.3 Unpaid voluntary work as an extension of working life
3.6 Summary

Chapter 4: Barriers to extending working lives
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Labour market conditions
4.2.1 Perceived ageism in the labour market
4.2.2 Job insecurity
4.2.3 Low-paid employment and skill downgrading
4.2.4 Engagement with the welfare system
4.3 Health problems
4.3.1 Physical health problems
4.3.2 The effects of ageing on physical capabilities
4.3.3 Menopause
4.3.4 Work-related stress
4.4 Caring responsibilities
4.4.1 Overview of caring responsibilities amongst the older people sample group
4.4.2 Caring for dependent children
4.4.3 Eldercare responsibilities
4.4.4 What has helped older people to combine working and caring
4.5 Attitudinal barriers
4.5.1 No desire to extend working life
4.5.2 Concerns over intergenerational equity
4.6 Summary

Chapter 5: Employers' perspectives on the opportunities and challenges associated with older workers
5.1 Opportunities and challenges presented by the employment of older people
5.1.1 Opportunities offered to employers by extending working lives
5.1.2 Challenges identified by employers of extending working lives
5.2 Good practice in managing an older workforce
5.2.1 Good Practice in Recruiting Older Workers
5.2.2 Good Practice in Retaining Older Workers
5.2.3 Good Practice in Re-training Older workers
5.3 Summary

Chapter 6: Conclusions and recommendations
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Summary of key findings
6.2.1 Older People
6.2.2 Employers
6.3 Actions that could help older people to extend their working lives
6.3.2 Actions for Employers
6.3.3 Ways in which Employers and Respondents thought the Scottish Government could help
6.4 Closing comments

Annex A: Overview of older people sample group

Annex B: Participant information sheet

Annex C: Employer Information Sheet

Annex D: Interview topic guide for older people

Annex E: Post-interview advice sheet

Annex F: Employer focus group/interview topic guide

Table of Figures

Figure 1: Employment of men and women aged 50-64 from 2004 to 2016

Figure 2: Employment of men and women aged 65+ from 2004 to 2016

Figure 3: Over- and underemployment among people aged 50-64

Figure 4: Over- and underemployment among people aged 65+