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The older worker: Identifying a critical research agenda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Philip Taylor
  • Wendy Loretto
  • Victor Marshall
  • Catherine Earl
  • Chris Phillipson

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-689
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Issue number4
Early online date6 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


The roles that older workers play in labour markets has received a great deal of policy and academic scrutiny in response to economic crises and demographic change. As a starting point, this focus has paradoxically resulted in insufficient attention to older workers themselves. The article is thus concerned with refocusing the agenda for research onto the older worker. Building on an extensive literature review, four gaps in knowledge are identified: who might be researched; what the focus of that research might be; the role of theory informing the research; and how the research might be conducted. The article identifies a particular need for research on ‘work’ as opposed to ‘retirement’ and how the changing nature of work may influence future patterns of later life labour market engagement and retirement. It is argued that better public policy will result from more critical and socially embedded research that recognises the heterogeneity of ‘older workers’ and their motivations.

    Research areas

  • older workers, human resource management, public policy, theories of ageing

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