Adaptation or exploration? Understanding older workers' plans for post-retirement paid and volunteer work
SourceWork, Aging and Retirement, 7, 2, (2021), pp. 129-142
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
Work, Aging and Retirement
SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
Numerous investigations have sought to understand the types of individuals who engage in post-retirement work. However, little is known about why older adults are motivated to engage. The aim of the present article is to examine the extent to which two possible mechanisms - adaptation (adjusting to the loss of work role) and exploration (retirement as opportunity to engage in activities in line with personal values) - play a role in explaining planning for paid work or volunteering after retirement. Analyses are based on large-scale survey data collected in 2015 among older workers in the Netherlands (N = 6,278). Results show that the large majority of older Dutch workers have plans for post-retirement paid and/or volunteer work. Moreover, both mechanisms appear to contribute to the understanding of post-retirement work plans, yet in different ways. Specifically, older workers who expect to miss latent work functions are more likely to have plans for post-retirement work, with their general values guiding the type of work they gravitate toward. Having plans for post-retirement paid work was more prevalent among older workers who attached more importance to personal growth, whereas having plans for volunteer work was more prevalent among older workers who had a stronger social orientation. Moreover, results suggest that men, more often than women, translate the anticipated loss of latent work functions into plans for post-retirement paid work. These insights regarding the motivational antecedents of post-retirement work plans are highly relevant in light of policy discussions of active and healthy aging.
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