Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Many company closures await when elderly small business owners retire

02.11.2011
The population of the EU is becoming older, and an ever smaller number of people have to provide for the ageing population.

In Sweden, an already critical employment situation is exacerbated by the fact that 25% of managers of small and medium-sized businesses plan to retire in the next five years, and this is estimated to lead to a company closure in one in ten cases. Research from the University of Gothenburg now shows what can be done to keep elderly people in the labour market.

Under the EU-funded research project Best Agers, researchers at the University of Gothenburg have conducted demographic studies of the Västra Götaland Region and Norrbotten.

“Larger cities also cope well in the longer term. But large parts of the countryside, including in Västra Götaland Region, are affected by low birth rates and outward migration. It will be difficult to maintain community services in those areas,” says Roland Kadefors, a docent (associate professor) at the Department of Work Science of the University of Gothenburg.

The researchers have conducted demographic analyses and made projections of outward migration and future age structures.

Small and medium-sized companies – companies with fewer than 250 employees – account for a large share of employment in Sweden’s small municipalities. Sweden has one of the oldest sets of managers in that category of businesses in Europe, for historical and political reasons. 25% of these business owners will retire in the next five years, and 40% within ten years. This is equivalent to 55,000–60,000 companies, 175,000 companies if sole traders are included. These companies account for more than 700,000 jobs. The risk of closure is estimated at around ten per cent, equivalent to 70,000 jobs.

“Generational changes are critical times for small businesses. Either a family member or am employee takes over or the company is sold to an outsider, and that can either go well or go badly. The alternative is to close down the business,” says Kadefors.

Under the research project Best Agers, the researchers in the eight participating countries have identified the obstacles to labour over the age of 55 remaining in the workforce or returning to it that exist in each country. Employees, employers and representatives of authorities have been interviewed.

The result for Sweden is a 17-point programme (see below), in which a number of measures are listed, at employee level, at employer level and at society level. Kadefors highlights one of the items at the society level is particularly important: being a pioneer.

“It is important for older people to be involved in the parliamentary work and in other visible public activity. Unfortunately the trend is moving in the wrong direction in the Swedish Parliament, with fewer people over the age of 65 in the present parliament than in the previous one.”

A 17 Point Programme for Sustained Employability

For the older employees themselves:

Look for employers who have a good record with respect to work environment, competence development programmes, and a positive attitude to older employees.
Take advantage of offers to join competence development programmes.
Avoid as far as possible repetitive work, shift work, and physically strenuous work tasks. Listen to your own body.
Try to establish a good relationship with your supervisors, so that they engage in your work and are aware of your accomplishments.
Engage in your trade union and try to interest them to open discussions with the employer how to further principles of Age Management in the workplace.
Engage in physical training in free time.
Develop a CV that reflects the full range of knowledge that you possess, not only listing exams and jobs.

For employers:

Develop the work environment so as to make sure that all employees are given work tasks that comply with their capacity, taking into account individual characteristics such as age and sex.
Implement principles of Age Management in the work organization, in consultation with the trade unions.
Develop work career plans for all employees, involving competence development programmes.
Develop mentoring programs where older employees can use time for knowledge transfer to younger ones.
Develop stepwise and flexible pension options in order to retain some older employees and their knowledge for a longer time, rather than applying strict compulsory retirement based on age alone.

Work with the organization, in particular middle management, in order to develop a positive attitude towards older employees. This means recognizing the competence of older employees and communicating that they are often able to achieve at least as good results as younger workmates, if they are given adequate working conditions.

At the society level:

Revoke all sorts of age discrimination in laws and regulations.
Build safeguards against age discrimination in the operation of governmental agencies having an impact on ageing and work.
Implement an ombudsman function for appeals from people who consider themselves victims of age discrimination.

Be trendsetters. Involve older people in parliamentary work and other visible governmental operations.

For more information, please contact: Roland Kadefors
Telephone: +46 (0)31–786 3224, +46 (0)706-233 534
E-mail: roland.kadefors@av.gu.se
website: http://www.av.gu.se/Personal/Roland_Kadefors/

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Europe's microtechnology industry is attuned to growth
10.03.2017 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>