Employees’ longer working lives in europe: Drivers and barriers in companies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper identifies, within companies’ sectors of activity, predictors of Human Resource (HR) policies to extend working life (EWL) in light of increasing policy efforts at the European level to extend working life. Three types of EWL practices are investigated: the prevention of early retirement (i.e. encouraging employees to continue working until the legal retirement age); delay of retirement (i.e. encouraging employees to continue working beyond the legal retirement age); and, recruitment of employees who are already retired (i.e. unretirement). A sample of 4624 European organizations that was stratified by size and sector is analyzed in six countries. The main drivers for companies’ EWL practices are the implementation of measures for older workers to improve their performance, their working conditions, and to reduce costs. In industry, the qualities and skills of older workers could be more valued than in other sectors, while the adoption of EWL practices might be less affected by external economic and labor market factors in the public sector. Dutch and Italian employers may be less prone than others to extend working lives. These results underline the importance of raising employers’ awareness and increase their actions to extend employees’ working lives by adopting age management initiatives, especially in SMEs, and in the services and public sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1658
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Age management
  • Employers
  • Extending working life
  • International study
  • Older workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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