Aging Workers' Learning and Employability

I. Raemdonck*, S.A.J. Beausaert, D. Fröhlich, N. Kochoian, C. Meurant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In today’s time of demographic change and rapid innovation, age and employability as well as the role of learning and development are high on the agenda of policy makers and human resource managers. Empirical studies, however, do not provide consistent evidence for the relation between age and employability and between age and work-related formal and informal learning. While many studies find negative relationships, some other studies present positive or insignificant effects. The inconsistent results may hint at conceptual weaknesses of chronological age as a measure, which are often ignored. One such weakness is the difficulty to disentangle age effects from cohort and period effects. Moreover, since people become more heterogeneous the older they get, the less suitable age is as predictor. Therefore, we state that chronological age in itself may not be the most important factor in predicting work-related learning and employability. Alternative significant predictors might be work centrality, learning self-efficacy and future time perspective. In addition, we identify age-related individual and organizational obstacles for work-related learning and employability. Two of the most prominent individual obstacles are a decline in motivation to learn and less capability to learn. Organizational barriers are due to negative stereotypes about aging workers and a lack of supportive learning climate for older workers. Therefore, research on other individual and organizational factors might provide more satisfying answers and contribute to new insights for the management of an increasingly older workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAging Workers and the Employee-Employer Relationship
EditorsP.M. Bal, D.T.A.M. Kooij, D.M. Rousseau
Place of PublicationDordrecht, Boston, London
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-08006-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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