Enabling participation, health and well-being of ageing workers: towards a sustainable and inclusive working life.

Coordinator: Professor Maria Albin, Lund University and Karolinska Institutet

Co-coordinator: professor Kjell Toren, University of Gothenburg

Programme area and the problems the group will work on

Demographic change challenges European working life to combine high productivity with sustainable health and well-being, and to align such strategies with the capacity and needs of the individual worker. Within the EU25, more than 33% of the men and 38% of the women will, according to the OECD, be 60 years or older in 2050, compared to 18% of men and 24% of women in 2000. The European workforce will be older than ever before. The World Social Security Forum 2010 stated that measures to keep older persons healthy and able to work are urgently needed in all world regions.

This ageing workforce will be characterized by increasing diversity, face faster change in technology and work organisation, higher work intensity and more service work, and at the same time reduced early labour exit possibilities and incentives. Tracking the relationships between work health, participation and disability prevention in the ageing population, considering possibly differential effects with regard to age, generation, gender, occupation and social class, are core issues.

Programme idea and research tasks

Sustainable strategies for an extended (>65 years of age) working life need to take working-conditions, health aspects, as well as conditions outside the work-place, into account. However, there are knowledge gaps regarding predictors for extended working-life participation as well as health consequences of a full and extended working-life given specific working conditions, health status and conditions outside the workplace.

We will undertake a series of population-based longitudinal studies to explore these relationships, with consideration of the heterogeneity in the working-population with regard to age, gender, and socio-economic status (WP 1). These aspects are further explored in a series of qualitative studies which will tematically identify dimensions or working life that interact with the aging process and explore individual strategies for a successful sustainable working life, and the attitudes of managers and HR-professionals (WP2). Finally we will use the new knowledge to adjust available/proposed curricula for age and career management training of HR personnel and managers, and test them in interventionstudies (WP3).

A schematic presentation of the programme


The programme is funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare for the period 2013-2018.