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Further Training for Older Workers: A Solution for an Ageing Labour Force?

Hilal Zboralski-Avidan

Due to changes in retirement and employment policies the participation of older workers in the German labour force has been increasing in the recent decade. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), the book examines developments in the training participation patterns of older workers. The author gives special attention to the relations between the rate of training participation and the level of job satisfaction. The findings indicate an increase in training participation, particularly of workers aged 55–59, and imply a positive correlation between the rate of training and job satisfaction.
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1 Introduction

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Older workers nowadays are needed to stay for longer periods in the labour force (OECD, 2005a). While this necessity should eventually lead to a better economic growth, it requires overcoming a series of macro and micro level challenges. In the macro level, institutional and policy changes in Germany involve altering patterns of retirement and encouraging late employment. This is quite challenging for a country which until recently was one of the leading countries to encourage the early retirement of its older labour force (OECD, 2005a). In the last decade, Germany has experienced a meaningful decrease in the share of older workers who retired early, mainly due to reduced options for early retirement (Dietz & Walwei, 2011). Nevertheless, opportunities for early retirement still exist which means that further promotion of policies is needed (OECD, 2012a).

Coping with the challenges in the micro level, however, seems more complicated. It involves changing the attitudes of both employers and older employees towards the extension of employment period. Employers play an enormous role in the execution of recent policies. Since they need to hire, retain and train older workers in order to support continued economic growth (Piktialis & Morgan, 2003), their prejudiced attitudes towards older workers need to change. In this regard, a special concern is given to the skill level of older workers, which needs to be constantly maintained by further training. While the reluctance of employers to train older workers is one of the main causes for their low...

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