The engagement and retention of older workers is a major concern for organisations and has been an increasing focus for human resource scholars internationally. Drawing on social exchange theory (SET), the purpose of this paper is to examine the conditions under which retention and engagement of older workers could be enhanced, together with the potential for perceptions of age discrimination to negatively influence these outcomes.
The study surveyed a large sample of New Zealand workers aged 55 years and over from across 28 New Zealand organisations of varying size and from a wide range of industrial sectors. A moderated-mediation model was proposed to examine the relationship between perceived organisational support (POS) and intention to leave, the mediating effect of job engagement in this relationship, and the moderating influence of perceived age discrimination on this mediation.
While POS was negatively related to workers’ intention to quit, job engagement partially mediated this relationship. Age discrimination moderated this mediation. As perceived age discrimination increased, the mediation of job engagement was weakened as POS had less influence on the job engagement of older workers.