Date of Award

5-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Advisor

Taylor, Mary Anne

Abstract

A number of surveys have tapped the interests of older employees as a way to understand the factors that encourage extended employment (Bass, 1995; Sterns, 1998). The current research has two purposes. The first is an applied goal; to determine the organizational factors that are most attractive to older workers seeking employment. The second purpose is to investigate the predictive strength of these variables through a controlled experimental design rather than using survey methodology. We chose to examine the importance of pay, work flexibility, and diversity policies as determinants of interest in the return to work among white collar employees. While pay and flexibility have emerged in past research as factors that influence the interest of older employees, the impact of diversity policies has not been well-researched, so this represents an extension of past research. Two levels of each of these three variables were used in the current study, creating a 2 (pay level) X 2 (flexibility) X 2 (diversity policy) experimental design. Results of the current study suggest that overall interest in the return to work among white-collar retirees is quite modest (M = 2.45, SD = 1.23), and that flexibility emerged as an important factor in determining return to work. An interaction emerged between diversity policy and pay; the presence of a diversity policy was important only under favorable pay conditions.
A post-hoc analysis of those with moderate-to-high interest in returning to work revealed that the presence of a diversity policy emerged as a significant factor in the attraction of this group to the organization; pay and flexibility were non-significant. These findings should contribute to our understanding of how these factors impact the interest level of retirees in returning to the workplace, and should help practitioners design more effective tailored recruiting programs.

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