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ABSTRACT. Despite differences between EU member countries, most experience demographic change characterized by a decrease in mortality and fertility rates leading to a growing proportion of older people with effects on the working population. This poses a range of economic challenges in terms of financing health care and retirement as well as maintaining the employment skills base. This paper is based on a research project and aims to identify policies adopted by employers and employment-related organizations in order to extend the labor market participation of older workers. Between 2005 and 2007 the ESF Article 6 funded Creative Approaches to Workforce Ageing (CAWA) project was carried out by four European partner institutions based in Spain, Austria, Sweden and the UK. The project partners had strong links to trade unions, employers, organizations and regional authorities, facilitating multilayered debates related to raising awareness of demographic change among policy makers and developing best practice guidelines. The findings presented relate to key employment areas and are explored from employers’ and workers’ perspectives. The organizational identities/ commitment literature provides a conceptual framework to gain understanding of the push and pull factors associated with workforce ageing. The paper concludes by arguing that the debate on workforce ageing needs to be focused on deeper understanding by employers and policy makers of the work and non-work related identities of older workers. pp. 62–81

Keywords: older worker, demographic change, workforce ageing, organizational commitment, Europe

ANDREA WINKELMANN-GLEED
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London Metropolitan University

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