Lifelong Employability Research
In 2017 I conducted empirical research into the topic of Employability. What do people need to be able to remain employable for longer and not live in fear of losing their job after the age of 50?
The resulting thesis "Lifelong Employability: Thriving in an ageing society" was submitted in February this year and is soon to be published in the Springer Schriftenreihe der Kaladios Fachhochschule: Dengler, Philippa (2019): Lifelong Employability. Thriving in an Ageing Society. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.
I'm happy to say that an increasing number of people in the business world are interested in the implications of the findings for what companies can do to support employees take responsibility for their lifelong employability. And rightly so.
As we live increasingly longer lives we urgently need to rethink how we manage work, employability and retirement. For ourselves and for the people who work for us and with us in our companies. The current models are simply not sustainable - not financially - as we read all the time in the press and hear in political debate - but the impact on people and society in terms of physical health and psychological health.
The qualitative research I conducted provides insights into the attitudes, norms, intentions and behaviours of employees in Switzerland towards 6 key aspects of lifelong employability.
3 key findings emerged:
1) Social norms and attitudes formed over the course of lives are limiting our possibilities to adapt how we think about employability.
2) Loyalty to a company has served people well in the past but is an obstacle preventing people from being proactive in the six aspects of employability.
3) Despite widely held beliefs that it is harder to remain employable over the age of 50, chronological age says little about a person’s likelihood to remain employable lifelong. Far more important is an ‘openness to experience’ which allows personal growth and adaptability to new realities.
These findings have implications for how companies should think about supporting their employees to take responsibility for their lifelong employability and lead to recommendations for changes on 3 levels: data, structural and behavioural to lead to significant change and enable people and the businesses they work for to thrive.
If you feel inspired to read my thesis I'd love to discuss your insights and comments.
For those who don't want to read the whole thing I'm happy to discuss how to transmit the relevant messages for your audience and purpose in presentations, workshops or interactive group sessions.