Accueil » 58-4 ( 2003) » Efficacité des pratiques de maintien en emploi des cadres de 50 ans et plus

Efficacité des pratiques de maintien en emploi des cadres de 50 ans et plus

Gilles Guérin et Tania Saba

Résumé

Dans le contexte actuel de pénuries de compétences, la fonction ressources humaines — après avoir encouragé les départs anticipés — se voit confrontée au défi de maintenir en emploi les employés vieillissants. Après avoir passé en revue les principales pratiques de gestion associées à la rétention des employés de 50 ans et plus, les auteurs mesurent leur effet sur l’extension de la vie professionnelle de 402 cadres des services sociaux et de santé de Montréal. Les résultats, une fois validés à partir de ceux de deux autres sources de données (tirés de la même enquête), permettent d’élaborer une stratégie de maintien en emploi axée sur les quatre dimensions suivantes : 1) élaboration d’un projet de fin de carrière, 2) aménagement du temps de travail, 3) amélioration de la qualité de vie au travail, 4) stimulants financiers.

Abstract

Effectiveness of Practices Aimed at Retaining Managers Aged 50 or Over

In many industries in Quebec and Canada, as well as in other Western countries, labour shortages have now replaced labour surpluses in a context where succession is growing scarce and a real culture of rapid departure has developed as a result of the recent waves of early retirement and the work overload that this has created for the “survivors.”

After years of encouraging departures and of managing early retirement programs, the human resources (HR) function now faces the new challenge of attempting to retain aging employees in today’s context of multiple restructuring, infrastructure sharing, growing competition and—for the Public Service—tighter management of the financial resources that the state makes available to institutions. This raises the question of whether it is possible today to have end-of-career employees extend their working lives.

In the 1980s and 1990s, numerous studies (Rosen and Jerdee 1985a; Nusberg 1986, 1989; Meier 1988; Dennis 1988; Hale 1990; Shea 1991) presented—based on the specific needs and expectations of this category of workers—management practices which were supposed to satisfy end-of-career employees and encourage them to stay in their jobs longer. However, the issue of the effectiveness of these practices has rarely been addressed. What is the value of this model of managing aging? Can it be useful for HR managers?

According to the domain-specific literature, a retention strategy may be based on a number of practices aimed at extending the working life of older employees. These practices will be presented according to seven main categories: career planning, career development, career moves, job content design, time management, pay and benefits, and employment relationship.

The effectiveness of these practices will then be assessed on the basis of a sample of managers who, in March 2001, answered a more general questionnaire on job dissatisfaction, mobilization and retention in the Montreal health and social services sector. Out of a total of 3525 managers, 1054 managers answered the questionnaire. Of this number, 402 managers were aged 50 years or over and formed the sample used in this study. Extension of working life (EWL), the dependent variable used in this study, was assessed through four indicators: expectations of early retirement, expectations of extending working life, planned retirement age and desired age (regardless of any financial consideration). Thirty-seven practices which are supposed to be linked with retirement departure were drawn from the literature and retained as independent variables. Other variables—socio-demographic, professional, psychological and organizational—act as control variables in certain analyses. The results show that the percentage of explanation of EWL through end-of-career management practices is only 13%. As amply repeated in the literature, end-of-career managers are particularly partial to individualized arrangements. These managers stay on because their employer has organized a stimulating end-of-career project for them that is either challenging or offers particularly attractive working conditions. Without these accommodations, there is no hope of retaining these managers, short of offering substantial financial incentives. From this analysis of management practices emerged a strategy for retaining older managers based on: (1) a stimulating end-of-career project; (2) individualized arrangements of work time (and place) or advantages which allow for this flexibility and (3) in addition to—or in the absence of—these elements, financial incentives can always be used to “purchase” the retention of older employees.

To validate the retention strategy which emerged from the preceding results, two additional analyses were conducted. The first analysis used other independent variables, i.e. the opportunities offered by the workplace to satisfy a number of professional expectations. These variables could be considered as intervening variables between management practices and the decision to stay employed. The second analysis was based on the results of an open-ended question which asked the respondent, “Under what conditions would you agree to extend your career beyond the planned retirement age?”

The results allow us to complete and specify the retention strategy described above. Thus, four tools are available to retain end-of-career managers in the Montreal health and social services sector:

  1. End-of-career individual project.

  2. Time management.

  3. Improvement of quality of working life.

  4. Financial incentives.

Although the impact of these practices on the extension of working life is less significant than the impact of individual factors (seniority, health status, expected financial situation at retirement, importance of work in life, etc.), the impact of these practices is far from insignificant. Thus, this demonstrates that the HR function has a role to play in the development and implementation of a management strategy to retain managers aged 50 or over.

Resumen

Eficacia de las prácticas para mantener en empleo los ejecutivos de cincuenta años y más

En el contexto actual de escasez de competencias, la función de recursos humanos – después de alentar el retiro anticipado – se ve confrontada al desafío de mantener en empleo los empleados que envejecen. Después de haber pasado en revista las principales prácticas de gestión asociadas a la retención de empleados de 50 años y más, los autores miden el efecto de éstas sobre la extensión de la vida profesional de 402 ejecutivos del sector de servicios sociales y salud de Montreal. Los resultados, validados a partir de los resultados de otras dos fuentes de datos (obtenidos por la misma encuesta), permiten elaborar una estrategia de mantenimiento en empleo basada sobre las siguientes cuatro dimensiones : 1) elaboración de un proyecto de fin de carrera, 2) acondicionamiento del tiempo de trabajo. 3) mejora de la calidad de vida en el trabajo, 4) estimulos financieros.