Workplace Perceptions of Older Workers and Implications for Job Retention

Keywords: Health, Working Environment & Wellbeing, Gender, Ethnicity, Age and Diversity, Organization & Management


Older workers’ opportunities for late careers are influenced by employer attitudes and willingness. Nordic managers seem unwilling to hire and retain older persons. In this article, we explore Norwegian workplace perceptions of older workers and the way they are positioned at the workplace.We base this article on qualitative interviews with managers and both union and HR-representatives from 19 companies. Previous research has linked this unwillingness to stereotypes and ageism among employers. We find that the perceptions of older workers do not rest only on stereotypes and ageism, but also on concrete experiences of older workers and processes or mechanisms of positioning and polarization that sometimes occur within the workplace. These actors perceive older workers as a heterogeneous group. We argue that these perceptions may lead to ambivalence towards older workers as a group, and in how to handle them individually. Qualified and available support and flexible strategies are needed.

Author Biographies

Kjetil Frøyland, Oslo Metropolitan University


Researcher/PhD, Work Research Institute

Hans Christoffer Aargaard Terjesen, Oslo Metropolitan University


Researcher/PhD-student, Work Research Institute

How to Cite
Frøyland, K., & Terjesen, H. C. (2020). Workplace Perceptions of Older Workers and Implications for Job Retention. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 10(2).