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The recruitment of early retirees: a vignette study of the factors that affect managers' decisions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2010

Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute(NIDI), The Hague, The Netherlands.
Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute(NIDI), The Hague, The Netherlands. Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.
Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
Address for correspondence: Kasia Karpinska, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University, Janskerkhof 12, 3512 BL, Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail:


Retirement is characterised as a dynamic process that has several different outcomes, from early retirement to re-entry to the labour force. Recent studies of the Dutch population show that a substantial number of early retirees re-enter the workforce after early retirement, but others do not succeed even though they want to return to paid work. An often-named reason for their failures is bias in the selection process. This raises the questions as to what restrictions do early retirees face in the labour market and what are the characteristics that enhance or limit their hiring chances? The aim of this study was to identify the individual and organisational characteristics that influence managers' hiring decisions, and for the purpose a vignette study among Dutch managers and business students was conducted. Profiles of hypothetical early retirees were presented to the respondents who were then asked to make decisions whether of not to employ the individual. The results show that hiring early retirees is of low priority to both managers and students, and depends to a large extent on organisational factors (such as personnel shortages) and the age of the retiree. The findings suggest that despite equal opportunities policies, age discrimination is still present on the Dutch labour market and that managers generally hinder the re-employment of workers approaching the retirement age.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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