The Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work is an international, multidisciplinary research network focused on the changing circumstances of work in later life. The Network was established in 2015 with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to Jacquelyn James, Ph.D., Director of the Network and Co-director of the Center on Aging & Work, which then became the home of the new Network.

Highlights of Network Activities

2020

Keynote Address for Society of Actuaries in Orlando, Florida (January 14, 2020)

  • Jacquelyn James, Director of the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work, presented the keynote address, Retirement Security, It’s Not Just about the Money.

The accumulation of a solid financial foundation is necessary but not sufficient for retirement security in the broadest sense, i.e. to continue to belong and to be a contributing member of society. Too little attention has been paid to creating a path to a rewarding later life. Findings suggest that just staying “busy” in and of itself may not be the key to health and well-being in later life and retirement security; instead, the quality of one’s experience (i.e., engagement) with paid work, volunteering, caregiving, and informal helping plays an important role in the extent to which involvement leads to positive outcomes.

Special issue,  Psychological Mechanisms that Affect Economic Decisions to Work Longer (January 2020)

The special issue provides scholarship on how the psychological mechanisms that underlie economic behaviour is crucial to our understanding of how bridge employment opportunities, flexible work options, training for new careers, and starting new businesses might contribute to higher proportions of older workers remaining in the labour market.  The special issue includes 11 papers from 14 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Three themes emerged: Those that potentially inform employment and human resources practises; those that inform career decision making: and those that inform educational practises.

Request for Proposals (RFP) for a 2020 Gerontological Society of America Pre-conference Workshop 

Plans are being made to host the 4th research network pre-conference workshop at GSA, 2020 Rethinking Diversity, Inclusion and Justice for Older Workers: Who and What Do We Continue to Miss?

Assuming acceptance by the GSA program committee, we will gather once again to share current research from the proposals submitted, critique plans for new research (the “fishbowl session”), and learn from two esteemed keynote speakers: Dr. Mary Gatta, author of Waiting on Retirement: Aging and Economic Security in Low-wage Work, and Dr. Robert Turner, II, author of Not for Long: The Life and Career of the NFL Athlete, both of whom offer new and different perspectives on the changing context of aging and work.

Network member, Dr. Kendra Jason, University of North Carolina, is leading this effort, with support from a subcommittee (Drs. Fabiola Gerpot, Germany’s Otto Beisheim School of Management, and Karen Fortuna, Dartmouth College) in the planning of this dynamic program. Please see the call for proposals here. We welcome proposals for a panel or for individual papers that help to identify the challenges among underrepresented older workers (e.g., low-income, racial and ethnic minority, and blue-collar older workers) in their efforts to obtain or retain employment and/or that identify strategies for overcoming those challenges for people who either want to or need to work in later life.

2019

Exploring Justice, Equity, and Inclusion for Older Workers in the Changing Context of Aging & Work
Sponsored by the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work, Boston College
September 26 & 27, 2019
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Program Agenda

The Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work Fall Institute was held on September 26-27 to great acclaim. Participants gathered from around the world to explore ideas for research that furthers our understanding of– Equity, Justice, and Inclusion among Older Workers in the Changing Context of Aging & Work.  The Institute was held in collaboration with Professor Lisa Berkman, Network member and Director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies at the T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Discussion centered around how to get beyond age discrimination and focus more on fairness and inclusion among employees of all ages. The Institute, designed to be a working meeting where new ideas can be presented and fertilized, is Part I of a research effort that includes two additional parts: Part II will involve presenting completed work at a pre-conference workshop at GSA in the fall of 2020.  Part III will be a publication effort, to be determined after the interdisciplinary team determines the focus of the initiative.

2018

Preconference Workshop in Boston (November 14, 2018)
Research that Matters to Employers: Overcoming the Constraints of Later Life Work at the Gerontological Society of America Meeting

  • Presenters focused on the workshop theme, Research that Matters to Employers: Overcoming the Constraints of Later Life Work, including keynote speaker, Kerry Hannon, a best-selling author, highly-acclaimed columnist, and nationally-recognized expert and strategist on career transitions, personal finance, retirement, and entrepreneurship. The workshop attendees had a lively discussion of proposals for new research ideas pertinent to the theme.  The closing featured a wrap-up addressing the parallels between the work of the Network and the labor dispute that continued throughout the event as well as the importance of the future of the Network.

Presentation in Boston (March 9, 2018)

  • Jacquelyn James, Director of the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work, presented a paper, Beyond the Livelong Work Day: The New Face of Retirement, at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University.

Conference in Miami, FL (January 18-19, 2018)
Current and Emerging Trends in Aging and Work, co-sponsored by the NIH-funded Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) in collaboration with NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work

  • Jacquelyn James, PhD. presented a paper, All the Livelong Day: The New Face of Retirement.  All papers from the conference are included in an edited volume accepted for publication by the Springer Publishing Company (Czaja, Sharit, James & Grosch (Eds). This book, Current and Emerging Trends in Aging and Work addresses the challenges and opportunities confronting older workers and organizations. It provides an up-to-date comprehensive summary of what is known about aging and work. In addition, it includes chapters on current and emerging topics related to work and aging adults such as working in teams, the increasing diversity of the labor force, work and caregiving and the implications of technology for an aging workforce.

2017

Webinar for the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge Initiative: Advancing Long (Healthy) and Productive Lives (September 19, 2017)

  • Dr. James discussed the changing needs and wishes of older workers who want to work longer and with more flexibility as well as employer responses to these requirements.

Preconference Workshop at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress in San Francisco, CA (July 23-24, 2017)
Translating Research on Aging & Work into Practice: Effective Strategies for Communicating with Employers, co-sponsored by The National Institute on Aging (NIA), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Gerontological Society of American (GSA) and the Productive Ageing Centre, Australia

  • Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work members presented papers about workplace-based policies and practices that make it possible for older adults to extend their labor force attachment. In addition, ten poster sessions introduced Early Career Scholars to aging and work issues.

2016

Fall Institute at the T. H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University (October 27-28, 2016)
Is There an App for that? Overcoming the Constraints of Later Life Work

  • Designed to leverage the considerable expertise among Network members in order to develop a research agenda around the knowledge gaps in the area of aging and work, the meeting focused on ways to overcome constraints to later work-life, engaging early career scholars and developing publications to address these knowledge gaps.

Special Session at the Gerontological Society of American (GSA) Conference in New Orleans, LA (November 17, 2016)
Changing Attitudes/Expanding Possibilities for Later Life Employment

  • The Special Session examined age stereotypes and changing attitudes about older workers; opportunities and challenges of technology; barriers and facilitators of working longer; and issues for employers and public policymakers.

Special issue of the journal, Work, Aging and Retirement (July 2016; M. Wang, Ed.)
Change in the Meaning and Experience of Work in Later Life

  • The script for later life is being re-written, in part due to increased longevity, improved health, shifts in the economy, and changes to pension systems. A series of papers from members of the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work examine changes in the meaning and experience of work in later life with implications for future research, employers, and policymakers.

 2015

Pre-conference Workshop at the Gerontological Society of American (GSA) Conference in Orlando, FL (November 18, 2015)
Change in the Meaning and Experience of Work in Later Life

  • This workshop examined the power of an engaged life and challenging work for older adults and the role of employers in optimizing the older adult work experience.