Perceived age discrimination and older workers in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
As the population ages, age discrimination against older people in the workplace has become an important issue in society. Age discrimination in the workplace has numerous negative impacts on individuals and organisations. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of perceived age discrimination in the workplace in New Zealand and to examine its potential effects on older workers (aged 55 years to 70 years). Data were drawn from the 2018 data wave of the New Zealand Health, Work and Retirement (HWR) study with 1896 respondents meeting the inclusion criteria. Results showed that workers aged 65 years and older, and unskilled workers had significantly higher levels of perceived age discrimination compared to younger and skilled workers, while there were no significant differences on gender, ethnicity, and educational levels. As predicted, the study found that perceived age discrimination was negatively associated with mental and physical health, job satisfaction, and work engagement, and positively related to work-related stress and continuance commitment. However, perceived age discrimination was not found to be significantly related to life satisfaction and intended retirement age as predicted. In addition, we found that age discrimination had an indirect effect on life satisfaction, mental and physical health, and intended retirement age through work-related stress and job satisfaction. These results provide support for previous findings on the impact of age discrimination on well-being and job characteristics. These findings provide employers and managers with useful information to improve the work experiences of older workers. Future research should explore the relationship between perceived age discrimination and intended retirement age further to highlight the seriousness of age discrimination for workers and contribute to reducing the occurrence of age discrimination in the community.