Late career employment transitions


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2013 MBAA/NAMS presentation, "Transition from Late-Career Displacement to Employability: How Older Knowledge Workers Confront Labor Market Adversity" John F. Fruner, Baker College

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Late career employment transitions

  1. 1. TRANSITION FROM LATE-CAREERDISPLACEMENT TO EMPLOYABILITY:How Older Knowledge Workers Overcome LaborMarket Adversity  John  F.  Fruner Doctoral  Candidate,  Business  Administration  Baker  College  Center  for  Graduate  Studies Flint,  Michigan A  Research  in  Progress  Presentation   North  American  Management  Society  Distinguished  Paper  Award  Winner  in  Human  Resource  Management  49th  Annual  MBAA/NAMS  Conference  February  27,  2013
  2. 2. The Older Worker Profile project was announced by the U.S. Census Bureau on June 18, 2007 to study employment and retirement trends among Americans over age 45. “The retirement of baby boomers will have a huge impact on the work force,” said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon. “Businesses and planners need a better understanding of labor force trends, the loss of experienced workers and the payout of retirement benefits.” Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois were not included in the 31-state project. The most recent Indiana data were published before the Great Recession began, and for Wisconsin, three months after. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007)2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   2  
  3. 3. We don’t know as much as we should about older workers . . . . . . especially about those who were displaced in the 2007-2009 recession.2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   3  
  4. 4. Conceptual Foundations for This Study   1  Jobseekers overcoming Michigan labor market adversity by finding rewarding employment are making a significant collective contribution to economic recovery.2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   4  
  5. 5. Conceptual  Foundation  1:       Jobseekers  overcoming  Michigan  labor  market   adversity  by  finding  rewarding  employment  are   making  a  significant  collective  contribution  to   economic  recovery. •  What is labor market adversity? •  What are some trends in job loss and reentry?2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   5  
  6. 6. What is labor market adversity?   Michigan, June 2009 – official “end of the recession” nationally   •  Unemployment: 15.2% •  Estimates of underemployment: 25% •  Highest unemployment in the U.S. for the 12th consecutive month . . . worst level since 1984 for any state (Rooney, 2009) 2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   6  
  7. 7. U.S. National Labor Market: Slow Recovery Worst recovery conditions in 11 American recessions since 1948 Employment still 2.4% below November 2006 peak Figure  1.  Percentage  of  American  job  loss  from  inter-­‐recession  peak   levels,  1948-­‐2012  (McBride,  2013)  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   7  
  8. 8. Figure  1.  Percentage  of  American  job  loss  from  inter-­‐recession  peak  levels,  1948-­‐2012  (McBride,  2013)  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   8  
  9. 9. Michigan, 2013 Good news: §  “Sixth-fastest growing economy in the nation” (Governor Rick Snyder, January 2013) §  Average 2012 employment in 55+ age group was 888,000 (52% of 55-64 group, 14% of 65+) §  2012 unemployment rate in 50+ age group was 2-3% below the 8.9% total workforce rate (U.S. Census Current Population Survey data, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013a) Bad news (a.k.a. opportunity): §  65,000 in 55+ age group and 76,000 aged 45-54 are unemployed jobseekers (BLS, 2013a)2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   9  
  10. 10. Employment Status of U.S. Workers Displaced 2009-2011 Gray areas - Age 55- and-over displaced workers (red outline) are now jobseekers more than retirees Orange - Displaced older jobseekers are unemployed at rates three or more times the rates of their age groups Women (all ages) less likely to be employed than men (Adapted from Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012)2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   10  
  11. 11. 2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   11  
  12. 12. Age  60  no  longer  means  retirement,  for  29.4% Nearly one in three workers aged 60 and older are now in the civilian labor force, having either remained or returned (Weber, 2013) Not surprising, since median U.S. net worth dropped 38.8% from 2007 to 2010 (Bricker, et al., 2012), to 1992 levels (Mui, 2012)2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   12  
  13. 13. Poor reemployment rate among displaced older workers (unused existing labor supply) + Increasing workforce participation aspirations by older workers (increasing supply trend) Key trend: Older knowledge workers constitute a large and growing proportion of total underutilized Michigan and U.S. labor supply2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   13  
  14. 14. Q: Are There Jobs in This Economy?December  2012  data  for  12  Midwestern  States    (Bureau  of  Labor  Sta.s.cs,  2013b)      Nonfarm  job  openings,  unadjusted:  774,000,  about  2.5%  of  total  employment  and  opportuniRes    Note:  Midwest  regional  data  are  not  necessarily  representa8ve  of  Michigan.  North  Dakota  and  five  other  Midwestern  states  other  than  Michigan  are  included,  all  with  strong  job  crea8on  and  hiring  rates  rela8ve  to  U.S.  rates  (Jones,  2013)      Consensus:  Stronger  labor  demand  in  2012  vs.  2008-­‐  2011,  likely  to  conRnue  and  grow  at  a  modest  rate  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   14  
  15. 15. Labor  demand  is  rebounding  in  Michigan,   but  still  underutilizing  labor  supply 470  jobs  posted  by  “Age  50+  friendly  firms”  on   2/18/2013  on  a  public  job  board  (       January  2013  data  (all  occupaRons)*       140,333  online  help-­‐wanted  job  posRngs     413,000  reported  unemployed         *Michigan  Labor  Market  Informa8on  Dashboard  data  based  on  Conference   Board/Haver  Analy8cs  study  of  U.S.  Bureau  of  Labor  Sta8s8cs  surveys  (Michigan   Department  of  Technology,  Management  &  Budget,  2013)     2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   15  
  16. 16. Conceptual Foundations for This Study   2 Large numbers of displaced older knowledge workers still seeking new jobs suggest their reemployment is a compelling socioeconomic opportunity.2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   16  
  17. 17. Conceptual  Foundation  2:     Large  numbers  of  displaced  older  knowledge  workers   in  Michigan  are  seeking  new  jobs.     Their  reemployment  is  a  compelling  socioeconomic   opportunity. What characteristics and experiences do displaced knowledge workers have in common?  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   17  
  18. 18. Anecdotal knowledge / a priori themes Ø  This was not their career plan Ø  Most are not proficient in job search, surprised that their traditional job search knowledge is no longer effective Ø  Many are highly motivated to seek support and guidance Ø  They know someone who has found work but aren’t sure how they did it2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   18  
  19. 19. Conceptual Foundations for This Study   3 Employment might be the ultimate goal of jobseekers, but the practical goal of a successful post-displacement late- career employment transition is employability.  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   19  
  20. 20. Conceptual  Foundation  3:       Employment  might  be  the  ultimate  goal  of   jobseekers,  but  the  practical  goal  of  a  successful  post-­‐‑ displacement  late-­‐‑career  employment  transition  is   employability.     Employability is the antecedent of employment over which the jobseeker has the greatest amount of control, and is more likely to ensure continued employment than seniority or other traditional assets (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996, cited in paper).2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   20  
  21. 21. Conceptual Foundations for This Study   4 The best paths to successful transitions from late-career displacement to renewed employability are paths that have worked for employed jobseekers.  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   21  
  22. 22. Conceptual  Foundation  4:       The  best  paths  to  successful  transitions  from  late-­‐‑career   displacement  to  renewed  employability  are  paths  that  have   worked  for  employed  jobseekers. Learning from success cases can contribute toward improving poor success rates.2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   22  
  23. 23. Abstract The American labor force is changing to include a growing number of older people who choose to remain gainfully employed in a variety of occupations. Those  who  are  displaced  in  later  stages  of  their  careers  face   especially  difficult  challenges.   U.S. national research indicates that for every displaced older worker (born before 1965) who succeeds in reentering rewarding employment, at least one other does not. Displaced workers are unemployed at significantly higher rates than others in their age groups.2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   23  
  24. 24. Abstract This doctoral dissertation research will explore the under-researched experiences of knowledge workers who found their way back to the workplace after late- career exits. The objective of this study is to yield lessons to benefit late-career jobseekers, labor market intermediaries, and employers in how knowledge workers can develop and sustain late-career employability, an attribute that is likely to grow in significance as knowledge workers increasingly seek to extend their careers.2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   24  
  25. 25. Synopsis of Literature Review 1 Career researchers have rarely addressed the phenomenon of successful late-career transition after displacement, especially in the context of unusually persistent adverse labor market conditions •  Publications  are  primarily  non-­‐‑academic   whitepapers  from  public/private  centers  and   think  tanks •  Primary  focus:  Plight of the unsuccessful2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   25  
  26. 26. Synopsis of Literature Review 2 Numerous quantitative studies of unemployment, retirement, and job search fail to provide adequate understanding of the underlying reasons for low success rates among older jobseekers, or to illuminate factors associated with success2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   26  
  27. 27. Synopsis of Literature Review 3 Qualitative research is needed with regional perspective, 50+ age-group focus, and post- recession context to explore how and why success is achievable Research  models  cited  in  paper  (and  one  potential  model) •  2004 Midwestern study of college graduates (Ebberwein, et al.) •  2007 Australian study of 30s age group (McArdle, Waters, Briscoe, Hall) •  2012 U.K. study of older workers (AOM, unpublished)2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   27  
  28. 28. The Research Problem Existing theory and understanding grounded in research are inadequate to explain how and why some knowledge workers succeed in making late-career transitions to new work after a period of unemployment . . . . . . while others who seem equally employable do not.2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   28  
  29. 29. Purposes of This Research To discover how late-career jobseekers successfully transition from displacement to employability,2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   29  
  30. 30. Purposes of This Research To discover how late-career jobseekers successfully transition from displacement to employability, build a foundation for new theory,2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   30  
  31. 31. Purposes of This Research To discover how late-career jobseekers successfully transition from displacement to employability, build a foundation for new theory, learn possible reasons why displaced workers seem more likely to be unemployed than others in their age groups,2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   31  
  32. 32. Purposes of This Research To discover how late-career jobseekers successfully transition from displacement to employability, build a foundation for new theory, learn possible reasons why displaced workers seem more likely to be unemployed than others in their age groups, and address the real-world problem that only half of displaced jobseekers at age 55-64, and one in four 65 or older, succeed in such transitions (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012)2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   32  
  33. 33. If we could visualize a model for achieving and maintaining employability after late- career displacement, what would it look like? Figure  4.  Late-­‐career   employability   transiRon  model,   with  labels   indicaRng  how   elements  relate  to   the  research   problem  (RP)  and   research  quesRons   (RQ1  through  RQ4)   of  this  study  (Fruner,   2013).    2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   33  
  34. 34. 2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   34  
  35. 35. Research Question 1 What do older jobseekers in knowledge occupations do differently to achieve successful post-displacement transitions?2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   35  
  36. 36. Research Question 2 How do labor market intermediaries (LMIs) support older jobseekers effectively in post-displacement transitions?2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   36  
  37. 37. Research Question 3 How do employers contribute to successful late-career reemployment after displacement?2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   37  
  38. 38. Research Question 4 How do external resources and environmental factors other than LMIs and employers positively influence workforce participation among displaced older jobseekers?2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   38  
  39. 39. Methodology Overview •  Multiple case study approach with semi-structured responsive depth interviews (primary methodological models cited in paper are Yin, Stake, Rubin & Rubin) •  Focus on success cases (ref. Brinkerhoff, cited in paper) •  Bracketing interview to document researcher bias (to eliminate a key threat to internal validity) •  Pilot testing of interview questions and themes •  Thematic analysis using codes developed from a priori and emergent themes2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   39  
  40. 40. Potential Participant Examples Posi:on  Before  Late-­‐Career   Current  Posi:on    (All  With   Code   Gender*   Displacement  or  Exit   New  Organiza:ons)   A   F   Program  Manager,  AutomoRve   Engineer,  AutomoRve   B   M   Director-­‐Quality,  AutomoRve   Professor,  Higher  EducaRon   C   F   Manager-­‐Sales,  AutomoRve   Director-­‐OperaRons,   Manufacturing   D   M   Editor,  Newspaper   Editor,  Newspaper   E   F   Manager-­‐Sales,  Home  Goods   Self-­‐Employed   F   M   Engineer,  AutomoRve   Registered  Nurse   G   F   Development  Officer,  Higher   Development  Officer,  Higher   EducaRon   EducaRon   H   M   Manager-­‐Sales,  AutomoRve   Project  Coordinator,   ResidenRal  ConstrucRon   * Goal is to recruit 3-4 men and 3-4 women for insight into gender perspectives2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   40  
  41. 41. Dissertation Status and Plan ü  Proposal  (IntroducRon,  Literature  Review,   Methodology)  approved  by  dissertaRon   commifee   ü  Research  applicaRon  approved  by   InsRtuRonal  Review  Board  (IRB)   ü  Researcher  brackeRng  interview  and  pilot   interviews  within  two  weeks   ü  Research  interviews,  analysis  begin  in  March   ü  CompleRon  and  defense  in  August  2013  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   41  
  42. 42. Questions?2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   42  
  43. 43. Author Information John  F.  Fruner Orion  Township,  MI 248-­‐‑802-­‐‑3915 Doctoral  Candidate  in  Business   Administration,  Baker  College   Center  for  Graduate  Studies MBAA/NAMS  2013  Presentation: Transition  From  Late-­‐‑Career   Displacement  to  Employability:   How  Older  Knowledge  Workers   Overcome  Labor  Market   Adversity 2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   43  
  44. 44. Presentation ReferencesBricker,  J.,  Kennickell,  A.B.,  Moore,  K.B.,  &  Sabelhaus,  J.  (2012,  June).  Changes  in  U.S.  family  finances  from  2007  to  2010:  Evidence  from  the  survey  of  consumer  finances.  Federal  Reserve  BulleRn,  98(2),  Board  of  Governors  of  the  Federal  Reserve  System,  Division  of  Research  and  StaRsRcs.  Retrieved  February  17,  2013  from  hfp://  Bureau  of  Labor  StaRsRcs,  U.S.  Department  of  Labor  (2012,  August  28).  Employment  status  of  displaced  workers.  Retrieved  February  3,  2013  from  hfp://,  data  from  hfp://  Bureau  of  Labor  StaRsRcs  (2013a,  January).  Preliminary  2012  data  on  employment  status  by  state  and  demographic  group.  Retrieved  February  24,  2013  from  hfp://,  data  in  ptable14full2012.xls  and  notes  at  hfp://  Bureau  of  Labor  StaRsRcs  (2013b,  February).  Job  openings  lifle  changed  at  3.6  million  in  December  (news  release).  Retrieved  February  12,  2013  from  hfp://  Fruner,  J.F.  (2013).  TransiRon  from  late-­‐career  displacement  to  employability:  How  older  knowledge  workers  overcome  labor  market  adversity.  Unpublished  manuscript.  Author’s  personal  library.  Jones,  J.M.  (2013,  February  6).  North  Dakota,  Midwestern  states  lead  U.S.  in  hiring.  Gallup  Economy  (electronic  newslefer).  Retrieved  February  12,  2013  from  hfp://­‐dakota-­‐midwestern-­‐states-­‐lead-­‐hiring.aspx    McBride,  W.  (2013,  February  1).  January  employment  report:  157,000  Jobs,  7.9%  unemployment  rate.  Calculated  Risk  Finance  and  Economics  (online  newslefer).  Retrieved  February  2,  2013,  from  hfp://­‐employment-­‐report-­‐157000-­‐jobs.html  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   44  
  45. 45. Presentation References (continued)Michigan  Department  of  Technology,  Management  &  Budget  (2013).  Labor  Market  InformaRon  (LMI)  Dashboard.  Retrieved  February  11,  2013  from  hfp://  Mui,  Y.Q.  (2012,  June  11).  Americans  saw  wealth  plummet  40  percent  from  2007  to  2010,  Federal  Reserve  says.  The  Washington  Post,  Home/CollecRons/Americans.  Retrieved  February  17,  2013  from  hfp://­‐06-­‐11/business/35461572_1_median-­‐balance-­‐median-­‐income-­‐families  Rooney,  B.  (2009,  July  17).  Michigan  unemployment  tops  15%.  Retrieved  February  3,  2013  from  hfp://  (2013,  February  18).  Michigan  statewide  job  posRng  search  performed  at  hfp://      Snyder,  R.  (2013,  January  27).  Gov.  Rick  Snyder:  Job  creaRon  strategies  are  working  for  Michigan.  Detroit  Free  Press.  Retrieved  February  1,  2013  from  hfp://­‐Rick-­‐Snyder-­‐Job-­‐creaRon-­‐strategies-­‐are-­‐working-­‐for-­‐Michigan?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s  The  Conference  Board  (2013,  January  30).  Online  labor  demand  up  106,900  in  January.  The  Conference  Board  Help  Wanted  Online®  (HWOL)  Data  Series.  Retrieved  February  11,  2013  from  hfp://www.conference-­‐  U.S.  Census  Bureau  (2007,  June  18).  Census  Bureau  launches  older  worker  profiles  for  31  states  (news  release).  Retrieved  February  24,  2013  from  hfp://­‐86.html  Weber,  L.  (2013,  January  31).  U.S.  Department  of  Labor  (2012,  August  28).  Americans  rip  up  reRrement  plans.  The  Wall  Street  Journal,  U.S.  EdiRon.  Retrieved  February  3,  2013  from  hfp://  2/27/2013   ©  John  F.  Fruner  2013   45