Table of Contents

  • The digital revolution, the green transition and rising longevity are giving rise to more fluid, fragmented and diverse career paths spread out over a longer lifespan. Consequently, workers across the globe are rethinking their career ambitions and increasingly face the prospect of having to seek new job opportunities and switch careers at middle and older ages. The rate of job changes has increased in recent decades and according to the 2022 AARP Global Employee Survey, almost one in two workers aged 45 and above hopes to or expects to change jobs within the next three years.

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    The green transition, the digital revolution and rising longevity are the main global trends transforming traditional career paths and influencing a shift towards more fluid and diverse career trajectories. As a result of these profound transformations of the economy and society, it has become more common to hold several jobs or even careers throughout individuals’ lifetimes. Yet, conversations and policies concerning career mobility and progression are often directed towards younger workers in the earlier stages of their career, given their proven effects on wage growth.

  • In an era marked by rapid technological change, rapid population ageing and evolving labour markets, career mobility at all stages of working life plays a vital role in helping people adapt. Ensuring workers have greater choices and opportunities for career mobility and work that meets their needs is essential for keeping them in the workforce. This chapter explores diverse aspects of career mobility, underlining its importance for helping older workers who may be affected by structural changes or who wish to continue working but not in the same job and for enabling transitions from poor to good quality jobs.

  • Career mobility can either be voluntary or involuntary. Older workers who change jobs voluntarily typically experience improvements in wages and the quality of working environment, however they are less likely to make a voluntary job change compared to younger workers. This chapter considers the implications of career mobility for older workers in terms of earnings, type of job and working environment. Given that careers are becoming less linear and the likelihood of major career change during a workers’ life is increasing, government and employer policies need to be more proactive in preparing people for change and facilitating better carer choices, particularly for low-skilled workers.

  • Various factors on both the employer and worker side, as well as public policies and regulations, impede an older workers’ ability to transition fluidly between jobs. Country-level differences in mobility suggest that institutional policies are partly responsible for supporting or hindering career mobility. This chapter examines some of the barriers that older workers face when transitioning between jobs and explores government-led policy interventions that can facilitate career progression throughout the career lifecycle.

  • Internal or within-firm mobility enables older workers to take up roles that are better suited for their evolving needs and to continue advancing at later stages of their careers. However, identifying opportunities to change roles internally are not clearly defined for older workers who are the least likely to reflect on their career goals and aspirations. Implicit or explicit ageist attitudes further undermine the fluidity in which older workers can make within-firm changes. This chapter explores employer-led policies that aid workers in closing information gaps and forming better job matches that are adapted to workers’ preferences, skills, and flexibility requirements.