Social Networks of Older Workers

  The population of Scotland is expected to age considerably over the next 25 years and as the largest non-working group of the potential labour force is the over 50's, there is a concern that the future will bring increased social inequality for this group. There is a need to maintain the connections of older workers to the workplace in order to prevent their social exclusion and to control the adverse effect of their low level participation on the Scottish economy. The key aim of this project was to examine the social networks of different groups of older workers and if those networks affected their employability. It was argued that older unemployed men, in particular, might have poorer social networks than others who were in work, younger or female and thus they might be deficient both in human and social capital. Data were collected by interviewing people using a structured questionnaire. The effect of social networks was assessed in conjunction with other factors such as social class, health, occupation, and the degree to which those 50+ years faced discrimination by employers. Statistical modelling and social network approaches were used in analysing the data. The importance of the project, therefore, was the addition of a micro social perspective, social network analysis, in the search of the causes of high economic inactivity in Scotland. Key findings were that social networks are important in understanding people's employment status; employed people have both higher human capital and stronger social capital; and older people who are unemployed and looking for jobs have fewer social ties and very low social capital in terms of their social network.

  • Start Date:

    1 September 2004

  • End Date:

    1 September 2005

  • Activity Type:

    Externally Funded Research

  • Value:


Project Team