Preferences for Early Retirement: The Role of Work Related Factors
Fowlie, T. J. (2016). Preferences for Early Retirement: The Role of Work Related Factors (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10160
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10160
This study investigated the work related factors related to the retirement preferences of 132 full time older workers, defined as those aged 55+, in a range of New Zealand organisations. This research is important as due to the ageing population, maintaining the employability of the older worker for as long as possible is vital for economic growth and sustainability. Identifying the work related factors that may be influencing the early retirement preferences of older workers may lead to a better understanding of ways to maintain these workers in employment. The aim of this study was to contribute to the understanding of the factors which can be influenced directly by organisations, as retirement preferences are strongly influenced by norms and attitudes within the workplace. The research proposed that the predictor variables perceived age discrimination, job flexibility satisfaction, attitudes towards information and communication technologies (ICTs), perceptions of techno-complexity, and perceived threat from organisational downsizing, would have a direct relationship with early retirement preferences. In this study, the older worker was considered to have early retirement preferences if their preferred retirement age was earlier than their expected retirement age. The model predicted that job satisfaction and job security would mediate the relationships between the predictor variables and early retirement preferences. Correlation and mediation analyses were performed in SPSS to test the proposed hypotheses. Several hypotheses were supported: perceived age discrimination was positively related to early retirement preferences; perceived age discrimination was negatively related to job satisfaction; job flexibility satisfaction was positively related to job satisfaction; perceived threat from organisational downsizing was negatively related to job security; job satisfaction was negatively related to early retirement preferences; and job security was negatively related to early retirement preferences. The other hypotheses were not supported. This may be due to external factors not explored in this study potentially influencing the retirement intentions of older workers more heavily than the work related factors studied. Non-hypothesized significant relationships were also found. Firstly, perceived age discrimination was significantly related to job flexibility satisfaction, job security, and perceived threat from organisational downsizing. Job satisfaction and job security were also found to be significantly related to perceived threat from organisational downsizing. These results indicate that the work related factors thought to predict early retirement intentions, are perhaps not currently as important to New Zealand employees as past research has shown, as none of the predictor variables except perceived age discrimination correlated significantly with early retirement preferences. Overall, the results indicate that there are likely to be other factors not explored in this study influencing the retirement intentions of older workers in New Zealand organisations. For organisations who have recently been through organisational downsizing, employers should be mindful of the negative impacts this can have on older workers, namely job security and job satisfaction. New Zealand organisations should strive to create working environments that take into consideration the needs of older workers, and which encourage older workers to want to stay working, even past the age they are eligible for New Zealand Superannuation. Older workers who feel as though they have limited choice when it comes to making decisions surrounding their retirement may have difficulty adjusting to post-retirement life, thus organisations should be doing all they can to encourage flexible transitions to retirement
University of Waikato
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