Changing work in later life: a study of job transitions

Mcnair, Stephen, Flynn, Matt, Owen, Lynda, Humphreys, Clare and Woodfield, Steve (2004) Changing work in later life: a study of job transitions. (Project Report) Guildford, U.K. : University of Surrey. 93 p.


This is the first report of the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce, a research centre of the University of Surrey, working in partnership with the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and the Pre-Retirement Association (PRA). The report is an analysis of the findings of a national survey, carried out in Spring 2003, to investigate the nature of job change in the labour market, particularly as it affects people over the age of 50. The survey covered Great Britain, and was funded by the South East of England Development Agency (SEEDA), which is concerned to find ways of making better use of the talents of older people in a regional labour market which is experiencing near full employment, and growing skill shortages. The aim of the survey was threefold: to fill a gap in knowledge about the frequency and nature of work transition in the workforce, and particularly among older workers, to provide a base for defining the Centres future research agenda, to generate a database of individuals willing to participate in further research. The survey was carried out by adding eight questions to the national Omnibus Survey which the Office of National Statistics carries out monthly on a carefully controlled cross section of the population. The questions were asked for three consecutive months, producing a sample of 5204 respondents. This is only the first stage of analysis of a very rich body of data. The issues which it raises will form part of our ongoing research agenda, and we welcome suggestions from other researchers and policymakers about further questions to be investigated. Since over 1100 of those interviewed agreed to participate in further research, we have a rich database for further interview or questionnaire studies. We are very grateful for the continuing support of SEEDA in this work, which is important for the regional and national economy, for the health of firms facing an ageing workforce, and of all of us as we grow older.

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