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What's new on mature workers?

News from our team

Mature Workers During COVID-19 Survey

In October 2020, we asked 1583 mature workers (45+yrs) about their COVID-19 work experiences. As these infographics show, 20% more respondents are working from home, compared to pre-COVID, and 46% of employees who are working from home, would like to do so more often in the future. Unemployed workers felt they had the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 and employed workers have higher self rated health than retired and unemployed workers.

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New CEPAR research finds Australia's aged care system not meeting the needs of older single women without children

Women are much more likely than men to live in poverty in old age, especially single women. Improving the economic security of single older women is a policy priority. It is also an important objective for financial advisors. Most research into the reasons behind single older women’s economic insecurity focuses on the ‘motherhood penalty’: the effects of having and rearing children on labour market participation, incomes and retirement incomes. In Australia, however, 16 per cent of women do not have children and this proportion is growing. Little is known about older single women who do not have children, including how they are faring leading up to and after retirement and to what extent gender inequalities persist. 

A new report, co-authored by CEPAR’s Associate Professor Myra Hamilton from the University of Sydney Business School presents the results of a mixed methods study, providing a detailed picture of what shapes the financial security and wellbeing of older single women without children. Download the report from our website here.

CEPAR research update

A sample of other research underway from our team includes:

An Employers’ Lens on COVID-19: Adapting to change in Australian workplaces during COVID-19
In-depth interviews were conducted with Australian employers in April and July 2020, from the depths of the COVID lockdown to emerging from the lockdown. Employers have shared with us how they managed their staff, including mature workers, kept them safe and gained new insights into how work can be conducted both from home and in the workplace during a pandemic. A report on this research is due in early 2021.

Mature Workers in Organisations Survey (MWOS) 
Dr Gigi Petery is researching subjective age (i.e. how old do people feel) using data from the first wave of MWOS (2019).

Data has been collected from the second wave of MWOS (2020) and we now have approximately 100 matched subjects who participated in both waves of the survey, providing us with the opportunity for longitudinal analysis.
New publications from CEPAR
Hamilton, M. and Jenkins, B (2020) ‘Gendered moral rationalities in later life: Older women balancing work and care of grandchildren in Australia’, Ageing and Society. Earlyview.  

Petery, G. A., Iles, L., & Parker, S. K. (In press). Putting successful aging into context. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice.

Petery, G. A., Wee, S., Dunlop, P., & Parker, S. (2020). Older workers and poor performance: Examining the association of age stereotypes with expected work performance quality. International Journal of Selection and Assessment. Advance online publication.

Latest research from around the world

Retirement security: Other countries' experiences with caregiver policies

Case studies of three countries – Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom – are featured in a Report to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, focusing on 1) these countries’ approaches to support family members who provide eldercare, (2) challenges of these approaches, and (3) the status of efforts to develop a national family caregiving strategy. CEPAR Associate Investigators Assoc. Prof. Kate O’Loughlin and Dr Vanessa Loh, as well as CEPAR Research Associate Alison Williams, all from the University of Sydney, were interviewed for the report on Australian policies for caregivers. Read more

Age-specific effects on flexible work schedules
New research from Germany shows age has an effect on how workers respond to flexible work. Only older workers had lower sick day use and higher subjective health perceptions and only middle-aged workers had reduced work-family conflict. The authors point to “the importance of understanding age-specific policy effects in the face of workforce aging”. Piszczek, M. M., & Pimputkar, A. S. (2020). Flexible schedules across working lives: Age-specific effects on well-being and work. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.
Impact of caring on retirement & reduced work hours
The authors analysed six waves from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe and found that caring for elders had less effect on workers’ decisions to remain at work than did caring for siblings, friends and neighbours, and grandchildren. The welfare context is also important. Ariane Bertogg, Tiziana Nazio, & Susanne Strauss (2020). Work–family balance in the second half of life: Caregivers’ decisions regarding retirement and working time reduction in Europe. Soc Policy Adm. 2020;1–16. [Open Access]

Leadership & age-diverse teams

German researchers evaluated leadership training and whether it improved team functioning and performance in age-diverse teams. They found that after training team leaders had increased appreciation of age diversity and reduced age stereotypes. Team members also showed reduced age stereotypes and less conflicts, particularly for younger team members. Jungmann, F., Wegge, J., Liebermann, S.C., Ries, B.C. and Schmidt, H. Improving Team Functioning and Performance in Age-Diverse Teams: Evaluation of a Leadership Training, Work, Aging and Retirement, Volume 6, Issue 3, July 2020, 175–194.


Mature workers news roundup

Editor’s picks of the latest news from around the world on mature workers

Click on the links to these stories, or visit our news archive

How ageism is preventing some Australians from getting employed (ABC radio, 30/11/20)

Worker asked if she had Alzheimer’s by manager wins age discrimination case (UK)
(People Management, 27/11/20)

Number of unemployed people in UK over 50 rises by third, figures suggest (The Guardian, 23/11/20)

Leaked KPMG email warned retirement age covered by discrimination law (Australian Financial Review, 16/11/20)

Jobmaker: discrimination law exemptions could protect employers who turn away older applicants (The Guardian, 2/11/20)

Plan to raise China’s retirement age sparks anger (Channel News Asia, 20/11/20)

British Airways stewardesses win uniform row after accusing bosses of age discrimination (The Sun, 27/10/20)

Oxford University forced to re-employ professor who was illegally forced out before his 70th birthday (The Telegraph, 12/10/20)

‘Once they see your grey hair, that’s it’: How the federal budget ignored women (Sydney Morning Herald, 7/10/20)

China’s population crisis: Beijing must address its falling births and ageing workforce (South China Morning Post, 28/9/20)

More news
Browse more of our news collection here:

CEPAR comings and goings

We welcome Eva Zellman as a Research Officer with the CEPAR team at Curtin University. Eva is completing her PhD at the Centre for Transformative Work Design at Curtin University and has a Masters of Industrial and Organisational Psychology. With a background as an Organisational Development practitioner, she has extensive experience in Diversity & Inclusion, Executive and Team Coaching, Psychometric Assessments, and Outplacement.

The University of Sydney team welcomes Dr Nate Zettna as a Research Associate. Nate has just completed his PhD in employee silence (why employees don’t speak up) and welcomes the opportunity to put his data analysis skills to good use with CEPAR.

And we say au revoir to Dr Gretchen ‘Gigi’ Petery who is leaving the Centre for Transformative Work Design at Curtin University and returning to the United States where she will be joining the National Center for Productive Aging and Work (NCPAW) at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). We are thrilled that Gigi will continue working from afar with our team, particularly on the Lvkang (China) aged care workforce project. Thank you Gigi for all you have contributed to CEPAR over the last couple of years and we are so glad you will still be working with us in the future.
Interested in finding out about other research focused on population ageing? Subscribe to the CEPAR newsletter.
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