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Barriers and facilitators to extended working life: a focus on a predominately female ageing workforce

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 June 2020

Clare Ellen Edge*
School of Health and Society, University of Salford, Manchester, UK
Margaret Coffey
School of Health and Society, University of Salford, Manchester, UK
Penny A. Cook
School of Health and Society, University of Salford, Manchester, UK
Ashley Weinberg
School of Health and Society, University of Salford, Manchester, UK
*Corresponding author. Email:


Many countries are reforming their pension systems so people stay in work for longer to improve the long-term sustainability of public finances to support an increasing older population. This research aimed to explore the factors that enable or inhibit people to extend working life (EWL) in a large United Kingdom-based retail organisation. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with a purposive sample (N = 30): 15 employees aged ⩾60 and 15 supervisors supporting these employees. Older workers were predominately female, reflecting the gender profile of the older workers in the organisation. Older workers and supervisors reported that key facilitators to EWL were good health, the perception that older workers are of value, flexibility and choice, the need for an ongoing conversation across the lifecourse, the social and community aspect of work as a facilitator to EWL and the financial necessity to EWL. Perceived barriers to EWL included poor health, negative impacts of work on health, and a lack of respect and support.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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