Februar 2013

IZA DP No. 7252: Labour-Market Outcomes of Older Workers in the Netherlands: Measuring Job Prospects Using the Occupational Age Structure

published in: De Economist, 2013, 161 (2), 199-218

This paper analyses changes in job opportunities of older workers in the Netherlands in the period 1996-2010. The standard human capital model predicts that, as a result of human capital obsolescence, mobility becomes more costly when workers become older. We measure and interpret how changing job opportunities across 96 occupations affect different age and skill groups. Older workers end up in shrinking occupations, in occupations with a lower share of high-skilled workers, in occupations facing a higher threat of offshoring tasks abroad, more focus on routine-intensive tasks and less rewarding job content. This process is not only observed for the oldest group of workers, but for workers aged 40 and above. Observing older workers in declining occupations is to a large extent a market outcome, but declining job opportunities in terms of less satisfying working conditions and job tasks and content could potentially raise incentives to retire early.