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Job redeployment of older workers in UK local government

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Lain


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This chapter explores older worker job redeployment in a UK local government authority. It presents qualitative evidence from interviews with five HR managers, nine line managers and 37 older workers. Facing significant austerity budget cuts, staff numbers were cut using voluntary retirement/severance schemes, and job redeployment/reconfiguration was used extensively to move people to areas where there was a perceived need for their labour. HR managers drew on a narrative of ‘appeals to freedom’ identified in the neoliberal responsibilization literature. Redeployment was presented as an opportunity for people of all ages to adapt their employment in response to their changing needs and developmental preferences, for those willing to be flexible and take responsibility for managing their circumstances. However, there was little evidence of real opportunity for older workers, who sometimes ended up participating in their own marginalization as a form of ‘psychological reactance’. It is argued that under conditions of neoliberalism, job redeployment is likely to be focused on meeting the perceived needs of the organization rather than the worker, and it ends up magnifying older worker marginalization that occurs as a result of underlying ageism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lain D, Vickerstaff S, van-der-Horst M

Editor(s): Lain,D;Vickerstaff,S;van-der-Horst,M;

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Older Workers in Transition: European Experiences in a Neoliberal Era

Year: 2022

Online publication date: 12/09/2022

Acceptance date: 18/02/2022

Publisher: Bristol University Press

Place Published: Bristol


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781529215007