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O'Neill, Marjorie

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  • Paper Title: Understanding the Career Choices of Older Workers
  • Department Affiliation: Marketing and Management 
  • Supervisors’ Names:
    • Doctor Denise Jepsen
    • Associate Professor Lawrence Ang


The aim of this research is to understand the career choices of older workers. While there is significant research about retirement, there is a lack of literature and research in the area of older worker careers, in particular those who are continuing to work, rather than retire. This research seeks to not only understand the career choices that older workers are making around retirement, but also to expand and modernise theory in the area of late life careers which is currently inadequate.

Key literature / theoretical perspective:

  • Supers theory of life roles
  • Kaleidoscope Career Orientation 


This research is taking a mutli-method approach consisting of two phases, a qualitative and quantitative phase of data collection.  


Preliminary results based upon more than 50 semi-structured interviews show that the motivation to work and non-linear career intentions are different between older and younger workers. Furthermore, changing life roles have a significant impact upon individual’s desire and ability to work, in particular the life role of child. 

Research limitations/implications:

Currently theory in the area of late life careers is inadequate and does not explain the modern pheromone of a late life career. This research hopes to expand and modernise theory in this area allowing us to predict and explain behaviour.   

Practical and Social implications:  

Australia like much of the developed world is faced with an ageing population. If organisations wish to retain this talent they need to understand the changing needs of older worker. 


Late life careers