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 22: Studying retirement from a career perspective: are people who take charge of their career less inclined to retire?

An De Coen, Anneleen Forrier and Luc Sels


Many active ageing policies are inspired by the idea that sustainable careers may extend individuals’ working lives through their impact on career satisfaction and employability. However, empirical evidence on these assumptions remains scarce. Few studies on the transition to retirement take a career perspective. In this chapter, we investigate how career competencies influence the intention to retire through their impact on self-directedness, career satisfaction and employability. We thereby focus on two career competencies: self-awareness and adaptability. We examine how self-awareness and adaptability impact self-directedness and how employability in the internal and external labor market as well as subjective career satisfaction mediate the relationship between self-directedness and the retirement intention of older workers. Path analysis using a sample of 285 workers aged 50 or older reveals that self-awareness increases self-directedness, which, in turn, relates positively to external employability and career satisfaction. External employability and career satisfaction decrease the retirement intention. We did not find a mediating relationship via internal employability. The same counts for adaptability. In addition, adaptability is also related directly to retirement intention. We discuss the implications of these findings for research and practice.

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