Mid-career reviews key to longer and healthier working lives

Mid-career reviews (MCR), where employers organise an assessment of workers in the workplace at a mid-point in their working life, are an important tool to ensure that workers' skills continue to match the job demands, or whether a change in tasks or career is required. Eurofound's new report Changing places: Mid-career review and internal mobility, launched in Brussels today, shows that timely mid-career reviews can improve an employee's working life, boost their added value to their employer, and help to address Europe's long-term demographic ageing challenge.

Europe is currently facing a demographic crisis, with a shrinking workforce coupled with increased demands for social services. The labour force in Europe is projected to decrease by an average of two million every year between 2010 and 2030. This represents a loss of 1% of its current size per year for 20 years. Yet, in many countries, most workers still retire too early. They often do so not because they want to, but because they feel compelled to, and that they do not have other options. Solutions need to be found to make work more sustainable, and to extend working lives in order to avoid old-age poverty and to reduce state expenditure on pensions and welfare.

Although the nature of employment is changing, continuous, long-term, regular employment relationships are still the norm across Europe, and the evidence suggests that most people retire from a job they have held for over 20 years. Anticipating the future needs of middle-aged workers, before their options to progress and change their conditions of employment become too limited, is therefore important for employers as well as employees. This is particularly relevant for the 9%-15% of workers in Europe that are in 'arduous' jobs - which are intense, dangerous and unhealthy or unsustainable.

Demographic change in Europe necessitates that MCRs become an important part of sustainable human resource management policies in companies. Companies can benefit significantly from retaining older workers, both in terms of skills management and the intergenerational transfer of knowledge. Companies also play an important role in helping older employees transition to more sustainable work. The new report shows that wide-spread adoption of MCRs and effective age management policies is a vital priority for companies today, as demographic change in Europe is an acute challenge for tomorrow.

Click here to download the report in full

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