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SOC246H1 Lecture Notes - Savings Account, Air Traffic Control, Dependency Ratio

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Markus Schafer

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Challenges that older workers face virtue of complexity in the labour force
There is a lot of age prejudice and a lot of complexities
Specific jobs that plays out with aging
How people performance and productivity change over timeorganisation sociology
Table: Age and expected job productivity
Basis jobs skill
decline with age
improves with age
Example of jobs
between age and
yes yes carpenter
yes no Air traffic control
no yes Judge
no no
Negative older worker less productive
Positive older worker more productive
The model predicts that the two middle cases cancel out across different age there
is this flat line tendency
People accumulate info better as they age
Model: -predict change ( yes/no or no/yes)
- cancel out ( no effect)
- Basic age skills decline as we age
- Performance improves with age

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Many types of jobs require many types of skills some skills do improve with age but
others don’t
How age of surgeon related to performance ( experience)? We want to know if
performance decrease overtime.
Low age low performance, The experience being meaningful
However in the graph we see a drop off around the age of 50. So, experience was
important with productivity early age but skills seem to drops off over the years. (ex:
quick decision making). Job skills decline. How age is associated with performance
IV. Retirement
Several ideas often used interchangeably
a. A event or ceremony marking departure from a particular job
b. A phase of the occupational life cycle
c. A process of separation from employment
d. A social role
Focus on the middle two definition:
- a phase of the occupational life cycle: end final transition, being out of the
labour force
- a process of separation from employment: not a binary state but a process
(happen overtime) and separation
(We’ll focus on b and c)
How to measure it? Researchers often use different criteria
a. Receiving a pension
b. Total cessation of employmentcompensation
c. Departure from the major job or career of adulthoodnot living work entirely,
having a side work
d. Significant reduction in hours of employment ( from 40 hours to 3-5 hours)
Retirement being a blurred concept different complex trajectory and process in
peoples’ life

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Statistic Canada: ½ of people who had retired are back in the labour force within 2
years this illustrates that blurred idea of what is retirement
Economic necessary was one the main reason for them to come back there were
other rational justification of going back to labour force
There are different trajectories
1st on the left Traditional, concrete transition: there is a full stop
2nd on the right phase retirement: staying the in same job but counting down hours
and productivity. About 60% use this model to enter retirement
3rd Intermediate enter and exiting, enter and exiting in the same type of job. They
are going btw working and not working. Pattern really hard when they are near 65 to
find a job
4th bridge retirement; live jobs in late 50s or early 60s and find another
job( different from the one the had before). Associated with economic necessary.
Going from executive to a worker in a retail store
Modern life new phenomena( retirement) being recent expected to do some sort
of work later on before retirement
Retirement being an institution. What enables the institutionalization of retirement?
Retirement is an “increasingly complicated and heterogeneous set of transitions and
adjustments” reflecting (a) people’s choices and preferences and (b) the
opportunities available to them. 1
1 From “Rethinking Retirement”, by Melissa Hardy, pg. 213-227 in Handbook of Sociology of
Aging, 2011.
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