13. Age Management and Sustainable Careers for the Improvement of the Quality of Ageing at Work

Francesco MARCALETTI

Department of Sociology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy

Abstract. Prolonging working careers by increasing the statutory age for retirement has become compulsory in most Western societies in order to tackle the shrinking of the labour force, preserve economic productivity, foster knowledge transfer and reduce the risks of financial imbalances in social security systems. This imperative currently results in working careers that already exceed 40 years and come to an end after the age of 65 (e.g. in Italy). Over the next few decades, both career length and retirement age are expected to rise. Thus, creating more inclusive workplaces by increasing their quality is the precondition of a win-win situation for both employers and employees, regardless of age. A request for support in the development of sustainable careers from both private and public labour organisations has led to innovating the mainstream methodologies and research tools in the field of age management. Based on the key elements of the mainstream “work ability concept” – i.e. health, competencies, motivation and work organisation – the Quality of Ageing at Work questionnaire (QAW-q), developed by a team from the WWELL Research Centre, broadens its perspective by surveying elements bridging intra-organisational dimensions and which affect employees’ conditions and external socio-institutional constraints: i.e. work-life balance, economic stability, professional identity and relationships in the workplace. The QAW-q is designed to analyse the influence of the different meanings of age (chronological age, seniority within the company and in the labour market) and correlate them with the different dimensions at individual and organisational levels; all these dimensions are weighted by the effect exerted by the passage of time. The results of the QAW-q survey, taken by employees of both private and public companies, serve as a basis for the implementation of measures addressing all the relevant dimensions of the human resource management cycle.

Keywords. Ageing Labour Force, Work Ability, Age Management, Quality of Ageing at Work, QAW, HRM