استخدام و بازنشستگی انعطاف پذیر: تغییرات در دانشگاه ها در عصر فقر اقتصادی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23935||2012||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 43, Issue 6, November 2012, Pages 1323–1332
With both declining and ageing populations, countries are addressing the threats to their competitiveness by attracting more highly educated workers and by investing in human capital, especially through policies to increase the rates of participation by young people in tertiary education. As the population is still ageing, there are concerns over the affordability of state support for the elderly, their roles in society and the economy. Active and flexible lifestyles extend healthy life expectancy, so extending the length of the working life is increasingly seen as a way to ease the transition to an economy where an ageing population is affordable. Senior academic staff, exemplars of such post-industrial flexibility, have long been accommodated beyond the statutory retirement age. Their benign conditions of work; high private and social returns to experience and knowledge; and their high levels of those skills, labour power and other capacities which do not degenerate with age, combine to prolong the length of their effective working lives. Against this, as in other sectors, redundancies, voluntary severance and other schemes to reduce staffing have encouraged early retirement. Increased demand for higher education has driven changes in the lecturing labour mix, with increasing use of a peripheral workforce of both early career and retiring staff. This has seen semi-retirement within higher education evolving to stretch the period over which withdrawal takes place. In this context, the exploratory work reported here considers the initial responses by employers and trades unions in Scottish Higher Education to the abolition of the default retirement age and the introduction of ‘The Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011’.
Scotland is typical of the developed world in taking actions to address the challenges generated by an ageing population. Such challenges include the affordability of state support for the elderly, and their roles in society and the economy. Medical and social research from across the developed world suggests that active ageing1 and maintaining active and flexible lifestyles extends healthy life expectancy (Kahila and Rinne-Koski, 2006, Droogleever Fortuijn et al., 2006, OECD, 2006 and Green, 2009). Extending the length of the working life is therefore part of the panoply of measures being proposed and introduced to ease the transition to an economy and society where an ageing population is affordable (Ilmarinen, 2006, Pensions Commission, 2006 and Pension Regulator, 2011). As exemplars of such post-industrial flexibility, senior academic staff have long tended to be accommodated in both formal and informal positions post-statutory retirement age. Their benign conditions of work; high private and social returns to experience and knowledge; and their high levels of those skills, labour power and other capacities which do not degenerate with age, combine to prolong the length of their effective working lives: whether in paid, casual or voluntary posts (Ilmarinen, 2006, p. 374). Academic labour markets represent a profession where traditionally age and experience have been valued, and there is a tradition of being engaged with the world of work (not necessarily paid) beyond state pension age; this is similar to most, although not all, other high status occupations. Alongside this, however – and as is the case in other sectors – redundancies, voluntary severance and other schemes to reduce staff numbers have encouraged early retirement. In the context of previous external research assessments, eligibility criteria open to ageist practices (HEFCE et al., 2011), decreased the attractiveness of retaining or recruiting older academic workers, tending also to reduce these traditions of keeping them involved in the faculty. Countering this, confirmation of their eligibility for submission to the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF is the system to assess the quality of research in higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK) and the increased demand for higher education (HE) with increasing student numbers and participation (UCAS, 2010) has driven periodic moves to promote changes in the lecturing labour mix, with increasing use of a peripheral workforce of both early career and retiring staff. This has seen semi-retirement within higher education evolving to stretch the period over which withdrawal takes place (Manfredi and Vickers, 2009). Internationally, literature and practice has seen an evolution of these different trends within the HE sector, focusing in particular on the transitions and decisions around the traditional retirement age (Tizard and Owen, 2001, Tizard, 2004, Hugo, 2008 and Moodie, 2010). The exploratory work reported here considers the experiences in Scotland and the rest of the UK HE sector, with reference to the position in other developed countries and with other sectors in the UK. It begins to identify how factors in the external regional labour market, for instance, may mould the opportunities and constraints on individuals and institutions to support mutually beneficial retirement plans. It is informed, therefore, by theories of how ageing productively is influenced by different factors in different geographies (Loretto et al., 2007). It is ground-breaking in terms of its consideration of the views of employers and worker representatives on the evolving context in HE with the abolition of the default retirement age and the introduction of ‘The Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011’.2
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The above analysis allows the first attempts to be made at gauging the response of HEIs to the removal of the default retirement age and the introduction of ‘The Employment Equality Regulations 2011’. The research has identified the initial steps being taken by the institutions, especially as revealed and led by their HR departments, and the concerns of the trades unions representing the workforce. As with previous legislation affecting older workers, it is not expected that results and changes in attitudes and behaviour will become evident for some time (Duncan, 2001, Duncan, 2002, Brown et al., 2008 and Smeaton et al., 2009). For many academics more immediate concerns over the impacts of public expenditure cuts, changes in pension entitlements, coverage and contributions, and threats to jobs mean that retirement decisions will continue to be postponed until they approach their traditional date for leaving (Manfredi, 2008). This research, in addressing active ageing in the academic workplace (OECD, 2006 and Green, 2009), has provided evidence into how new legislation is being considered in an environment which has tended to be more benign for older workers and for a profession where age is less of a barrier to sustained activity beyond 60. While those interviewed appear to have embraced the spirit of the legislation and the arguments for flexible lifestyles behind this, it is unclear how far down their organisations these sentiments have extended. Both HR and workers’ representatives highlighted the dangers of line managers lacking knowledge and sensitivity of these issues and their responsibilities. Awareness of and support for reduced working, sabbaticals, and other flexible forms to reduce the working week or year will be crucial if the benefits of these developments are to be captured and shared for the personal, institutional and societal good. As pressures to cut costs, manage salary budgets and attract new blood accelerate in the coming period of austerity, so it can be anticipated that performance systems will be applied more widely and strictly than hitherto, perhaps undermining the attractiveness of continuing in academia and so of retaining the most skilled and experienced staff. The inter-generational equity issues embedded in these changes have been recognised as significant in this recession (Smeaton et al., 2009 and IGF APP, 2009). These processes and practices will develop in different ways in different situations, as a result of the way active ageing and ageist discourses and practices play out differently in specific contexts (OECD, 2006 and Ilmarinen, 2006). Each place of employment generates its own workplace culture, which provides the context within which attitudes and practices towards older employees are set, embedded, developed, made understandable and negotiated. However, the elemental characteristics of academic labour markets – core, upper primary, responsible autonomy – mean that transmission of attitudes and practices is much greater than in other more geographically defined and constrained occupations. There is, then, a tendency towards common terms and conditions in this specific profession. In his analysis and recommendations for change at the national and regional levels to support a better and longer working life across the geographies of the EU, Ilmarinen identifies “tight work schedules” and the “regulation of one’s own work” as particular areas requiring attention in the UK (Ilmarinen, 2006, p. 418); professional skilled workers are singled out in the UK, along with only Luxembourg and Greece, as being in need of special attention (p. 419). Our research confirms this warning and echoes the proposals for change by Hirsch, 2007 and Manfredi and Vickers, 2009, and the Equality Challenge Unit (2010). With senior managers progressively being recruited from outwith academia or internally from those who are not driven by the continuing exploitation of intellectual capital as an inherent good, so these potential benefits may be missed (Lynch, 2005, Professor, 2011 and Paradeise et al., 2009). The need for wider and deeper consideration of these issues by institutions, staff and their representatives seems to be the clear conclusion from this analysis. Although necessary these may be drowned out by short term moves to reduce numbers through the traditional means of voluntary severance and especially voluntary early retirement. This is an evolving agenda, both in terms of the increasing realisation that the reforms and legislative changes will have implications for employers, workers and potential entrants to academia, and the subsequent changes in attitudes, behaviour and practices. Given the importance of how older academics react to the new context, an obvious extension of this research is to assess their perspectives and those of recently retired and retained staff. Comparative research with other environments and jurisdictions could be undertaken to good effect to gauge the drivers and variations in determining spatialities of ageing amongst academics, and more generally within other occupations and sectors. Similarly, variations within Scotland – among the ancient universities, those created in the 1960s following the Robbins Inquiry and the post-1992 institutions, which reflect parallel differences in the levels of support for research – undoubtedly will moderate the impacts of the retirement changes being considered here. As yet, there are no apparent patterns which would allow discrimination across these forms of institution, nor of disciplines, age cohorts or union memberships. In other words, further research is required to look more systematically at whether there are differences between Scotland’s academic institutions not simply on the basis of location but more on the basis of academic reputation and position in the UK and international system and rankings of prestige. To date, in an evolving situation where HE finances have a good deal of stability in Scotland for the coming few years, there is no indication that the new legislation is being renegotiated differentially, for example, between the more prestigious and well-funded universities and the lower ranked and/or more teaching oriented institutions. Such developments are dependent on how various drivers and factors play out in the next few years in a complex and dynamic environment.