I learned, I grew, I succeeded - So why retire?

The gift of experience

  • Bettina Falckenthal University of Aveiro
  • Cláudia Figueiredo DEM, GOVCOPP TEMA, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
  • Manuel Au-Yong-Oliveira INESC TEC, GOVCOPP, DEGEIT, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal


What could motivate well educated and experienced employees to offer their expertise beyond the legal retirement age in markets with a shortage of skilled workers? At the same time, what could motivate employers to offer retirement as an option and not a foregone conclusion after a successful and fulfilled working life?

This study presents a first approach to analyse the literature that researches the impact of a seasoned and experienced workforce on the economic success of organizations. For this exploration, this work is based on the following premises:

  1. Ethics and Value-based leadership have long-term positive economic effects on organizations, economies, and societies.
  2. Companies with diverse leadership teams are more economically efficient, stable, and resilient as they attract a diverse workforce.
  3. Offering customized opportunities for experienced and seasoned employees to work beyond legal retirement age could have positive socio-economic value.

We used a triangulation approach that consisted of a systematic literature review, a qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews and an observation of the German labour market. In our exploratory research, we conducted nine interviews with participants of the German labour market, representing a balanced number of employers and employees as well as women and men.

We used this data to challenge or validate our hypothesis that there are experienced employees near and beyond the legal retirement age that could be a solution to the scarcity of skilled labour.

Our thematic analysis revealed that both sides are open to conversations and to constructing creative solutions.