March 2011

IZA DP No. 5544: Age Biased Technical and Organisational Change, Training and Employment Prospects of Older Workers

published in: Economica, 2014, 81(322), 368-389

We analyse the role of training in mitigating the negative impact of technical and organizational changes on the employment prospects of older workers. Using a panel of French firms in the late 1990s, we first estimate wage bill share equations for different age groups. Consistently with what is found in the literature, we find that adopting new technologies and innovative work practices negatively affects the wage bill share of older workers. In contrast, training older workers more than average increases their share in the wage bill in the next period. So, training contributes to offset the negative impact of ICT and innovative work practices. However, it does not reduce the age bias associated with these innovative devices: the interaction terms between training and ICT/innovative work practices are either insignificant or negative. As a second step, we estimate the impact of ICT, innovative work practices and training on employment flows by age group in the next period. We get similar results to those obtained with wage bill shares. Overall, training appears to have a positive impact on the employability of older workers, but it offers limited prospects to dampen the age bias associated with new technologies and innovative work practices.