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    Aging and Careers

The world of work is changing rapidly. One important trend is the aging of the workforce. People tend to work longer and retire later these days, and fewer young people enter the workforce. For a few years now, workers over the age of 50 have outnumbered workers in their 30s in the Netherlands. A related trend is an increasing flexibility in careers. Nowadays, few people follow a traditional career, which entails holding one job with one employer for most of the working life and making orderly steps up the career ladder. Careers have become much more flexible, and the demand to actively manage one’s own career has increased considerably.

Research in our group aims to understand how these macro trends affect people in their day-to-day life and over longer time spans. Projects focus on the ways in which age differences in emotions, cognitions, and behaviors affect people at work, and how work demands and resources influence people throughout their working lifespan. Other projects focus on individual differences and strategies that predict career behavior and success both in company jobs and in entrepreneurship.

Research questions

  • Do young and older workers react to work demands differently?
  • Can we identify age-related strengths that help workers remain effective at work and age successfully?
  • How do occupational demands influence people’s emotional development across adulthood?
  • How do individuals manage transitions from one role to another (e.g., from education to employment, to first leadership position)?
  • What role does (career) adaptability play for individuals’ well-being and advancement over the working life?
  • Which personality, motivational (e.g., perceiving a calling for a certain job), and situational (e.g., working in a competitive work environment) factors are key for individual success?

Relevant publications

Team members working on aging and career topics