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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01937

Age-diversity practices and retirement preferences among older workers: A moderated mediation model of work engagement and work ability

  • 1Business Research Unit, University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE), Portugal
  • 2University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE), Portugal

To meet the demographic changes, organizations are challenged to develop practices that retain older workers and encourage them to postpone retirement. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of human resources (HR) practices in retirement preferences of older workers. Drawing on theories on lifespan development and social exchange, we suggest that organizations can facilitate longer working lives by implementing bundles of HR practices that are sensitive to age-related changes in workers’ skills, preferences, and goals – i.e., age-diversity practices. We posit that age-diversity practices are positively related to work engagement that, in turn, relates to the preference for retiring later. We further suggest that work ability moderates the relationship between age-diversity practices and work engagement. Finally, we propose a moderated mediation model in which the mediated relationship is moderated by work ability. A sample of 232 older Portuguese workers completed a questionnaire. Hypotheses were tested by using structural equation modelling (SEM). Findings show that work engagement completely mediates the relationship between age-diversity practices and the preference for early or late retirement. Moreover, this mediating relationship is more important for those workers who experience low work ability. Results further demonstrate that the effect of age-diversity practices on the preference for retiring later via work engagement is stronger for lower levels of work ability. This study highlights the organizational role in promoting longer and healthier working lives through the implementation of age-supportive HR practices.

Keywords: Retirement, Older workers, age diversity, work engagement, Work ability, Retirement preferences, HRM, age-diversity practices

Received: 25 Mar 2019; Accepted: 07 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Sousa, Ramos and Carvalho. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Inês C. Sousa, Business Research Unit, University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE), Lisbon, Portugal, ines_carneiro_sousa@iscte-iul.pt