Older workers and occupational identity in the telecommunications industry: Navigating employment transitions through the life course

Robert MacKenzie, Abigail Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The article examines the relationship between restructuring and work-based
identity among older workers, exploring occupational identity, occupational
community and their roles in navigating transitions in the life course. Based on
working-life biographical interviews with late career and retired telecoms
engineers, the article explores the role of occupational identity in dealing with
change prior to and following the end of careers at BT, the UK’s national
telecommunications provider. Restructuring and perpetual organizational change
undermined key aspects of the engineering occupational identity, inspiring many to seek alternative employment outside BT. For older workers, some seeking bridge employment in the transition to retirement, the occupational community not only served as a mechanism for finding work but also provided a sustained collective identity resource. Distinctively, the research points to a dialectical relationship between occupational identity and the navigation of change as opposed to the former simply facilitating the latter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-55
Number of pages17
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Volume33
Issue number1
Early online date6 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • bridge employment
  • identity
  • life course
  • occupation
  • occupational community
  • occupational identity
  • older workers
  • organizational identity
  • retirement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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