Ageing in the workplace
This chapter uses Fraser’s (1998) typology of social justice to explore the possibilities and limitations for older people’s participation in employment through the dimensions of resource distribution, representation and recognition. It first explores how personal resources of skills, health and income levels shape access to work as a resource offering income, social contact and purpose. It highlights how resource provision to support older people at work is dependent on recognition of the talents and skills they offer and employer resource constraints. It then explores representation of older people in the labour market and their voice in workplaces, arguing that vicious and virtuous circles form which reinforce patterns of participation. Lastly it explores how recognition of older people’s needs is required for employers to make age-related adjustments. The chapter acknowledges that ageing is a not a homogeneous experience and indicates where issues of intersectionality can provoke different employment outcomes. Building a non-discriminatory economy in which older people can continue to participate meaningfully in employment will be fostered partly by demographic change. It will benefit from policy attention to supporting later life transitions and could be accelerated by shifting employers from a passive to active stance in managing the consequences of workforce ageing. This would increase opportunities for equality of outcomes for older people in the labour market.