Int. J. of Human Resources Development and Management   »   2006 Vol.6, No.2/3/4



Title: Extended working lives? The meaning of working to older university workers in Australia


Author: Kate Shacklock


Address: Graduate School of Management, Griffith University, Gold Coast campus, Parklands Drive, Southport, Queensland 4215, Australia


Abstract: This paper reports the findings of a study of older university workers (both academic and general/administrative staff) in Australia on the meaning of working to them as individuals. The findings from the qualitative research suggest that working is important and enjoyable for older workers, but 'family' is more important than 'working'. The meaning of working differs between older workers and is influenced by their differing work characteristics, especially autonomy, flexibility and variety. Such perceptions impact upon their intentions to continue working, with most older workers wanting to retire before the traditional age of 65 years. Differences between the participant categories are noted and explanations offered. The evidence suggests directions for HRM practitioners and policymakers to increase the retention of older workers, who are needed to meet a predicted shortfall of skilled workers in Australia.


Keywords: ageing workforce; older workers; meaning of working; extended work life; Australia; university workers; intention to continue working; public sector; HRM; human resource management; skills shortage.


DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2006.010392


Int. J. of Human Resources Development and Management, 2006 Vol.6, No.2/3/4, pp.161 - 173


Available online: 18 Jul 2006



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