chapter  14
9 Pages

Labor Force Transitions in Late Life: Between Agency and Structure

ByKène Henkens

The current aging process is unprecedented-the scale at which it is affecting populations has never been so great or so enduring-and the era of young population structures will not return (Department of Economic and Social Affairs United Nations, 2010; Lee, Mason, & Cortlear, 2010). This structural development has not only made the sustainability of pension and social security arrangements a key issue for governments, but also influenced the way in which people organize their working lives and firms manage their workforces. Research over the past decades has focused on the driving forces behind early exit from employment and its consequences for organizations and individuals (Ekerdt, 2010; Wang, Henkens, & van Solinge, 2011). However, as Ekerdt (2010) states, “The trend toward earlier retirement is history.” Exit routes have been closed, benefit levels are lower, and the duration of these benefits has shortened. These reforms have taken place within a macroeconomic context of increasing job and pension insecurity and an erosion of trust in governing institutions (Hershey, Henkens, & van Dalen, 2010).