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Men and women expecting to work longer: Do changing work conditions matter? (Moen et al. 2016)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Moen, P., Kojola, E., Kelly, E.L., & Karakaya, Y. (2016). Men and women expecting to work longer: Do changing work conditions matter? Work, Aging and Retirement, 2(3), 321-344.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of a work flexibility intervention called STAR (Support. Transform. Achieve. Results) on workers’ expectations of retirement age and bridge jobs.
  • The study is a randomized controlled trial that uses surveys of workers before the intervention and five years post-intervention.
  • The study found that receiving STAR was associated with higher expectations of working at age 65 and retiring at age 67 or older.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because, although it was based on a randomized controlled trial, it had unknown attrition and the authors did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to STAR; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

STAR (Support. Transform. Achieve. Results.)

Features of the Intervention

STAR is a workplace flexibility intervention that included training sessions to identify ways to increase employees’ control over work time and flexibility; training sessions to educate supervisors on how to support employees’ personal lives; and a reduction of unproductive work, such as unnecessary meetings. It was implemented at a large company in 2009 for randomly selected work groups.

Features of the Study

This study is a randomized controlled trial that examines outcomes for 287 older workers in the IT department based on surveys conducted in 2009 and 2014. The authors used a statistical model to compare the outcomes of treatment and control group members.

Findings

Employment

  • The study found a statistically significant positive relationship between receiving STAR and workers’ expectations of still working at age 65 and retiring from their current company at age 67 or older. The study found no statistically significant relationships between STAR and expectations of bridge employment.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Although the study was a randomized controlled trial, the study does not indicate how many people were treated and only examines people who completed the follow-up survey. In addition, the authors did not account for existing differences between the groups before intervention participation. These existing differences between the groups—and not the intervention—could explain the observed differences in outcomes.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because, although it was based on a randomized controlled trial, it had unknown attrition, and the authors did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to STAR; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

September 2019

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