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Employment Experiences of Older Workers in the Context of Shifts in the National Economy. Kevin E. Cahill Tay K. McNamara Marcie Pitt- Catsouphes Monique Valcour Presentation at the 65 th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America San Diego, CA

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Employment Experiences of Older Workers in the Context of Shifts in the National Economy


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employment experiences of older workers in the context of shifts in the national economy

Employment Experiences of Older Workers in the Context of Shifts in the National Economy

Kevin E. Cahill

Tay K. McNamara

Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes

Monique Valcour

Presentation at the 65th Annual Scientific Meeting

of the Gerontological Society of America

San Diego, CA

November 17, 2012

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supported this research through a grant to the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College.

slide2
The Timing of the Age & Generations Datasetand the Dow Jones Industrial Average, January 2007 – December 2009
the age generations study
The Age & Generations Study
  • Consisted of online and handwritten surveys of employees from nine large organizations (12 worksites)
  • Surveys were conducted at two points in time
    • Time 1 (T1): November 2007 to March 2008
    • Time 2 (T2): May 2008 to September 2008
  • A sizable number of employees participated
    • Time 1 (T1): 2,210 (participation rate = 46.4%)
    • Time 2 (T2): 1,360 (participation rate = 28.7%)
    • Approximately 900 employees participated in both surveys
  • Questions focused on employee perceptions
    • Job security, employee engagement, supervisory support, work overload, and job quality
our paper
Our Paper
  • Research Questions
    • Are employees’ cognitive assessments of and affective and behavioral orientations toward work and the work-life interface related to the economic well-being of the society in which they live?
    • How do the work experiences of older workers compare to those of younger workers?
  • Background
    • The existing literature on the determinants of employee attitudes focuses on family, organization, and societal systems.
    • The role of the broader macroeconomy as a driving force of employee attitudes has largely been unexplored.
mean scores for job satisfaction employee engagement and satisfaction with w f balance by age group
Mean Scores for Job Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Satisfaction with W-F Balance, by Age Group
key findings effects of macroeconomic variables on employee attitudes
Key Findings: Effects of Macroeconomic Variables on Employee Attitudes

+, ++, +++: Indicates a positive coefficient that is significant at the 10%, 5%, and 1% level, respectively.

–, ––, – – –: Indicates a negative coefficient that is significant at the 10%, 5%, and 1% level, respectively.

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Across all workers, the state of the macroeconomy is a statistically-significant determinant of job satisfaction and satisfaction with work-family balance.
    • When the macroeconomyperforms poorly employees tend to report lower levels of job satisfaction and higher levels of satisfaction with work-family balance.
    • This finding suggests that employees’ job- and family-related attitudes are influenced by factors beyond the immediate job and family domains.
  • An examination of workers by age reveals that those aged 55 years and older report higher engagement scores compared with younger workers, controlling for the current state of the macroeconomy.
  • Older workers’ employment experiences are also less influenced by fluctuations in housing prices compared with younger workers.
implications and limitations
Implications and Limitations
  • Implications
    • The macroeconomy constitutes an influential context which may shape the effects of managerial decisions and policies on employees’ attitudes toward work and the work-family interface.
  • Limitations
    • The Age & Generations dataset contains at most two points in time per employee and covers the onset of the Great Recession only.
    • The sample of employees is drawn from large employers and, further, from specific departments within these organizations.
    • Changes attributed to macroeconomic conditions could be due to organizational changes that took place in response to the macroeconomy.
    • Outcome measures did not vary widely over time or across employees.