Older people and the labour market
Findings from SOPHIA project
In order to capture the user requirements, two surveys were carried out in Cyprus, Slovenia and Spain by the SOPHIA project. The first research included older people who are retired or will retire soon. The goal of the research was to investigate if older people are prepared to be included in different employment, volunteering and other activities after retirement. The second research was carried out via on-line survey among individuals and companies. The research found out valuable information about their attitude towards older people and how they feel about including older people in the labour market and other areas of life. We also wanted to know if they see the SOPHIA platform as a useful internet tool for finding older experts, who could be included in the working process or ask them for advice via on-line advising.
The first research included 91 older retired, or soon-to-be retired experts in Slovenia, 101 in Spain and 26 in Cyprus. The average age of participants was between 56 and 65 years old; almost two thirds were women. The educational level of the participants was different from country to country. In Slovenia, 80% of the participants had a higher degree of education, in Cyprus the majority of participants had high school education or higher, while in Spain the percentage was reversed – the majority of participants had elementary or high school education. Even though less educated Spanish people participated in the survey, the research was still interesting and relevant, because 30% of participants work in the social and health field, where the demand for workers is expected to increase due to the ageing of the society.
With the help of the research in the three countries, we came up with interesting conclusions. Older people are in majority satisfied with their lives, living conditions, and work if they are still employed. Most of them are also able to carry out their everyday activities, they are ready to participate in different forms of employment, volunteering and other activities even after retirement. Senior adults see caring for children as their main contribution in all three countries. In Slovenia, they have also pointed out volunteering, while in Spain and Cyprus three other areas are also important: financial support of older people to other generations, older people as consumers and as people who carry out paid work. In all three countries the prevailing arguments for carrying on with work after retirement are economic (need for additional income) and social reasons (personal fulfilment). We have also asked older people, which are their advantages, compared to younger workers and which are their weaknesses. In all three countries, the answers were uniform: their main advantages are experiences and reliability, while the disadvantage is poor use of new technologies.
More than half of the older people who participated in the research agree that it should be possible for older people to work after retirement. They also expressed their willingness to continue working after retirement (56% in Cyprus, 59% of participants in Slovenia and 45% in Spain) and that they would use the SOPHIA platform to find suitable service for them.
Watch the video of the SOPHIA project