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Open AccessArticle

A Sustainable Career Perspective of Work Ability: The Importance of Resources across the Lifespan

1
Antwerp Management School, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
2
Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
3
Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, 6525AJ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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School of Management, Open University of the Netherlands, 6419AT Heerlen, The Netherlands
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Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
6
Hubei Business School, Hubei University, Wuhan 368 Youyi Ave., Wuchang District, Wuhan 430062, China
7
Kingston Business School, Kingston University, London KT11LQ, UK
8
School of Business and Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2572; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142572
Received: 31 May 2019 / Revised: 12 July 2019 / Accepted: 16 July 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Work Ability and Aging)
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Abstract

In this study, we examine employees’ perceptions of their work ability from a sustainable career perspective. Specifically, we investigate the role of a person’s perceived current fit (i.e., autonomy, strengths use and needs-supply fit), and future fit with their job as resources that affect perceived work ability, defined as the extent to which employees feel capable of continuing their current work over a longer time period. In addition, we test whether meaningfulness of one’s work mediates this relationship, and we address the moderating role of age. Our hypotheses were tested using a sample of 5205 employees working in diverse sectors in Belgium. The results of multi-group Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) provide mixed evidence for our hypotheses. While all four resources were significantly and positively related to perceived meaningfulness, only needs-supply fit was positively related to perceived work ability. Strengths use, on the other hand, was also significantly related to perceived work ability, yet in a negative way. These findings underscore the importance of distinguishing between several types of resources to understand their impact upon perceived work ability. Interestingly, the relationship between future-orientedness of the job and perceived work ability was moderated by age, with the relationship only being significant and positive for middle-aged and senior workers. This suggests an increasingly important role of having a perspective of future fit with one’s job as employees grow older. Contrary to our expectations, meaningfulness did not mediate the relationships between resources and perceived work ability. We discuss these findings and their implications from the perspective of sustainable career development. View Full-Text
Keywords: perceived work ability; meaningfulness of work; perceived fit with current job; future-orientedness of the job; sustainable careers; age perceived work ability; meaningfulness of work; perceived fit with current job; future-orientedness of the job; sustainable careers; age
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Stuer, D.; De Vos, A.; Van der Heijden, B.I.; Akkermans, J. A Sustainable Career Perspective of Work Ability: The Importance of Resources across the Lifespan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2572.

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