How Flexibility Can Turn Into a Rigid Obstacle
The Observer (07/07/02) p.14; Bachelor, Lisa

Although many retirees believe that a freelance career will offer flexible hours, a varied workload, and more freedom, a recent study by the Open University Business School says that freelance working may not be as good for seniors as originally thought. The study says that ageist attitudes and fewer contacts for freelance workers make freelance work not very profitable for those over age 50. Other studies have shown that over 40 percent of retirees feel they have been forced to retire, and would have preferred to continue working. The Third Age Employment network, an advocate for older employees, says that companies prefer to hire young employees because they are better trained on newer technologies, and do not have to be paid for their experience. As the baby boomers age and the number of retirees increases, freelance will become more popular, and experts say, the pay rate for freelance work will decrease as more competition floods the market. Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British government have begun a campaign against the discrimination of older workers--Its Age Positive campaign, which implements a code of practice for employers. Some experts also suggest that employers become more flexible with their older employees, and allow them to gradually reduce their workload, instead of retiring all at once.


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