Finnish Institute of Occupational Health media release 27 October 2023
People over 55 years of age report better experiences of their own well-being at work than younger age groups. They are more likely to experience work engagement and experience less boredom at work.
“Better working conditions support the well-being at work of experienced employees. They have fewer work-related stress factors and better resources compared with younger employees,” says Janne Kaltiainen, Specialist Researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
The results of the “How is Finland doing?” study, presented at the Työpuntari event, demonstrate that as a person progresses in their career, they will experience more independence and less monotony and physical strain at work, for example. The positive effects of work on the rest of life are emphasized with age.
In this study, older age was not associated with lower perceived work ability.
“Despite this, it is difficult for people over 55 in particular to find employment again after becoming unemployed. Negative attitudes related to age make it difficult for experienced employees to find employment, work and continue their careers,” says Mervi Ruokolainen, Specialist Researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Ability to influence helps in combining work and caregiving
Ruokolainen wonders why Finnish workplaces do not fully support work ability and staying at work.
“We have the means to continue the career of more employees up to old-age pension. Adapting work should be utilised in more varied ways. Modifying work roles and tasks can be used to support coping and harness employees’ competencies and strengths. One way to deal with harmful attitudes and ways of speaking is by training supervisors,” says Ruokolainen.
One new challenge for extending working careers is the increase in responsibility for caring for elderly relatives. It is important for workplaces to be prepared to allow for new kinds of flexibility that combining work and the provision care require.
“Good opportunities to influence working time extends working careers. Such opportunities are especially important in shift work,” says Research Professor Mikko Härmä.
Recommended measures to extend careers of experienced employees
The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health recommends that workplaces actively support the extending of careers: of older employees:
- Offering opportunities to modify work in ways that take into consideration the perspective of experienced employees.
- Work shift planning that takes recovery into account.
- Making the competencies of experienced employees the basis for development. Making use of competence and transferring it on in new tasks, such as mentoring young employees.
- Influencing attitudes and ways of speaking, for example, by training supervisors in age management skills and related attitudes.
- Supporting experienced employees in autonomous planning and setting goals for the late stages of their careers. Extending practices promoting work-life balance to situations that include care of elderly relatives.
- Recruitment practices that prevent age discrimination.
- Experienced employees were the theme of the Työpuntari event on 27 October 2023. Watch all the talks and discussion from the event (Yle Areena).
- Janne Kaltiainen's presentation (in Finnish) can be found on the website of the “How is Finland doing” research project.
- The Työpuntari events organised by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health tackle important work life issues. In 2023, we will focus on the shortage of workforce and experts from different perspectives.
- On the Työpuntari website you will find more information and recordings of previous events on young employees and work-related immigration (in Finnish).
- Mervi Ruokolainen, Specialist Researcher, mervi.ruokolainen [at] ttl.fi, +358 (0)50 522 3203
- Janne Kaltiainen, Specialist Researcher, janne.kaltiainen [at] ttl.fi, +358 (0)50 476 5980
- Mikko Härmä, Research Professor, mikko.harma [at] ttl.fi, +358 (0)40 544 2750