9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Older People in Employment Building II, C5.07

Strengthening self-confidence in own training competencies. Special focus on ageing workforce

The increase of actual retirement age gives a new impetus for 50 + years old employees to re-invest in their skills. In near future an employee aged 55 years has a work horizon of at least 10 years. That is often more than one quarter of the whole working life. Nevertheless, recent training data shows a decline in participation rate for older employees. Our guiding question is how to strengthen it.

Since costs and benefits are comparable for different age groups, subjective reasons, like different likelihood for a status decline and individual self-confidence in own learning competencies, become important mechanisms in training decisions (cf. Breen/Goldthorpe 1997, Esser 2001). Specifically older employees often feel less self-confident in their competencies and perceive a lower likelihood for status decline than their younger colleagues.

These factors are largely determined by the overall learning climate in the working environment. We therefore assume that direct supervisors and peers can help to strengthen self-confidence in own training competencies, and hence to influence employees´ training behavior. From our point of view, a better understanding of this relationship is essential for improving participation rates in further training.

Indeed, in multi-level regression models with data from our interdisciplinary demopass-project we found that peers and direct supervisors have a positive significant influence on self-confidence in own training competencies. Interestingly these effects were especially strong for older employees aged 45 plus. For this group perceived management support and team´s learning climate are important factors for strengthening self-confidence. Thus, our results can give clear recommendations for increasing the training participation of an ageing work force. People are more likely to engage in training if they expect to perform successfully.