What keeps older workers at work? A Systematic Qualitative Literature Review

The 2018 National Employment Solutions Conference will be held at Twin Towns Services Club, Tweed Heads, NSW over the 8th – 9th October.

The conference provides the opportunity to be involved through presenting, learning, engaging, networking and collaborating with other professionals within the employment sector.

Joining us at the conference is Dr Elliroma Gardiner, Lecturer, School of Applied Psychology at Griffith University who will present on What keeps older workers at work? A Systematic Qualitative Literature Review’.


Improving the workforce participation of older workers has been recognised as an important strategy to alleviate the social and economic challenges associated with the ageing population. However, whilst many governments have introduced initiatives aiming to encourage older workers to postpone their retirement, some of these attempts have been unsuccessful due to a lack of suitable workplace practices for older workers.

The aim of the current research is to identify the workplace practices that encourage or discourage older workers’ decisions to continue working and whether there are any gaps of knowledge in this area using a systematic quantitative literature review. A total of 27 studies published between 1995 and 2016, investigating the influence of workplace practices on older workers’ intention to retire, intention to continue working and preferred retirement timing were reviewed. Results show that work demands are the most significant work-related factors contributing to older workers’ intention to discontinue workforce participation.

Learning and development opportunities, job autonomy, recognition and respect from colleagues and supervisors, mentoring opportunities, supportive organisational climate and social support at work are all significant work-related factors which enhance the intention of older workers to continue working. Unexpectedly, the provision of flexible work arrangements or salary was not found to affect older workers’ decision to continue working. The theoretical, research and practical implications of this research are discussed.


Elli is an Organisational Psychologist and Lecturer at the School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University. Prior to joining Griffith Elli was a Fellow at the Department of Management, London School of Economics and she also completed her Post Doc at the School of Management, QUT. Elli’s broad research interest is in investigating the interplay between individual differences and contextual features in influencing employee and organisational outcomes.

For more information on the 2018 National Employment Solutions Conference and to secure your spot, please visit www.employmentsolutions.net.au