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Open AccessArticle

Seeing the Finish Line? Retirement Perceptions and Wellbeing among Social Workers

Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT96AX, UK
Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Rosedale, Moyallen Road, Gilford BT63 5JX, UK
Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, UK
School of Psychology, Ulster University, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK
NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK
School of Management, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT95EE, UK
School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, University of Ulster at Magee, Londonderry BT487JL, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4722;
Received: 31 May 2020 / Revised: 24 June 2020 / Accepted: 24 June 2020 / Published: 30 June 2020
Planning for future health and social services (HSS) workforces must be informed by an understanding of how workers view their work within the context of their life and the challenges they will face across the course of life. There is a range of policies and provisions that states and organisations can adopt to create sustainable careers, support wellbeing at work, and extend working lives where appropriate, but the potential impact of these policies on the make-up of the workforce remains under investigation. This paper makes the case that service planners need to appreciate complex interplay between wellbeing and career decisions when planning the future workforce. It makes use of a recent survey of United Kingdom (UK) social workers (n = 1434) to illustrate this interplay in two ways. First, we present the analysis of how social workers’ perception of retirement and extended working lives are associated with dimensions of Work-Related Quality of Life (WRQL). We find that social workers who agreed that a flexible working policy would encourage them to delay their retirement scored lower on the Home-Work Interface and Control at Work dimensions of WRQL, while social workers who indicated a perception that their employer would not wish them to work beyond a certain age had lower Job and Career Satisfaction scores. Second, we propose a new typology of retirement outlooks using latent class analysis of these attitudinal measures. An 8-class solution is proposed, and we demonstrate the predictive utility of this scheme. Results are discussed in terms of the challenges for ageing Western populations and the usefulness of analysis such as this in estimating the potential uptake and impact of age-friendly policies and provisions. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health; workplace; retirement; extended working life; organisational policy mental health; workplace; retirement; extended working life; organisational policy
MDPI and ACS Style

Moriarty, J.; Gillen, P.; Mallett, J.; Manthorpe, J.; Schröder, H.; McFadden, P. Seeing the Finish Line? Retirement Perceptions and Wellbeing among Social Workers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4722.

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