Research forum on older workers early exit from employment

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ETCThe Employment and Training Corporation, ETC, has presented the findings of a study on the early exit from employment of older workers, at a research forum held recently. The qualitative research was carried out by Antonella Ellul from the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at ETC. The study was conducted with thirty males aged 55 to 60, and who were neither working nor registering for work at the time when the study was carried out. The selected respondents were chosen according to particular characteristics and all come from different sectors and backgrounds.

Ms Ellul explained that the study generated different explanations as to the factors that influence these individuals to leave work before they reach the normal retirement age of 61. These factors can be classified into ‘push’ and ‘pull’ scenarios. The ‘push’ factors included redundancy, poor health or disability, poor working conditions, business difficulties and marital separations, while the ‘pull’ factors included early retirement schemes, financial stability and the fact that one’s family members were no longer dependent on the breadwinner.

Ms Ellul noted that many respondents were ambivalent about retiring from work. Those who were prepared for the change and had full control over the situation tended to adapt better to their situation while others considered the loss of a job as a trauma and missed the work routine. Again, retirement had a mixed impact with some respondents feeling positive about the free time they had available while others felt isolated and wished to feel more useful.

ETC Chief Executive Officer Dr Sue Vella spoke about older workers from the perspective of the Lisbon Strategy and the EU employment guidelines, noting the EU 2010 target of having 50% of persons aged 55 to 64 in employment. Dr Vella discussed the data held by ETC in respect of the termination of employment, discussing correlations between sectors and occupations in respect of reasons for termination and current status.

A panel discussion followed the presentations. The panel included Mr Anthony Azzopardi from the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations, Mr Joe Camilleri from the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity, Mr Lawrence Mizzi from the Malta Employers Association, Mr Salv Sammut from the General Workers Union and Mr Lino Vassallo from the Union Haddiema Maghqudin.

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