Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers
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Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers

Edited by Ans De Vos and Beatrice I.J.M. van der Heijden

What is a sustainable career and how can individuals and organizations develop pathways that lead to them? With current levels of global unemployment and the need for life-long learning and employability enhancement these questions assume a pressing significance. With twenty-eight chapters from leading scholars, the Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers makes an important contribution to our understanding of sustainable careers and lays the foundation for the direction of future research.
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Chapter 19: Sustainability in the second half of the career

René Schalk, Marloes L. Van Engen and Dorien Kooij


Because of demographic workforce changes, the relative number of employees in the second half of their career (from mid-career to retirement) will grow substantially in the near future. Therefore, sustainability, or maintaining health, performance, motivation and well-being in the second career half is an important topic for employees and for employers as well. Moreover, since the proportion of women in the workforce in the second phase of the career is increasing, the problems of older working women need special attention. The chapter highlights specific issues that are prominent in the second career half, such as the differences in motives, career perspectives, the role of stereotypes, and health issues, especially for women. In addition, the chapter provides suggestions on how to improve sustainability in the second career half for both employees and employers. Maintaining a good fit between work and the changing needs of the employee requires employees to take an active role, as well as the availability of HR practices that facilitate this and provide opportunities for differentiation in career wishes and gender-specific preferences, and that counteract the stereotypical but incorrect view that older workers are less productive.

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