The intention of Australian older workers to continue paid work: the impact of marital differences

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Shacklock, K, Brunetto, Y & Nelson, SA 2007, 'The intention of Australian older workers to continue paid work: The impact of marital differences', paper presented to the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Conference 2007: Managing our intellectual and social capital, Sydney, 4-7 December.


This paper examines whether the impact of certain work-related factors on older workers’ intention to continue paid work varies between couples and singles. Data were collected through a questionnaire survey of a sample of employees, aged 50 years and older, working in a large public sector organisation in Australia. Data analysis suggests that work-related factors that are significant for couples include ‘interests outside of work’, ‘importance of work’ and ‘flexibility’. ‘Interests outside of work’ and ‘flexibility’ were also important factors for singles in their intentions to continue working. Analysis of the data demonstrated that a clearly identifiable work-related factor that provides a differentiation between couples and singles was ‘importance of work’ for couples. Given the ageing population and the issues related to future labour shortages (including the trend toward early retirement), there is a clear inference for management to develop new marital status specific policies and practices aimed expressly to increase the employment of older workers.