Ageing, work and health: challenges to developing and sustaining fair work

How an ageing workforce impacts work and health has become a key question as populations age and governments seek to implement policies to extend working lives.

Dr Sheena Johnson at the Alliance Manchester Business School is researching these issues through two qualitative projects that focus on older workers.

The first project is part of the Just Work in Greater Manchester programme at the Alliance Manchester Business School. It focuses on the changing nature of employment in Greater Manchester, and in particular, the labour market challenges arising from an ageing workforce.

This research engages local stakeholders, who play a role in providing work for older people, to understand the key employment issues in the region and highlight challenges which need to be addressed.

The second project is titled Work, Health and Ageing in the Transport Sector, in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive. This industry is experiencing a period of complex change, and there is little research on the health impacts of these changes.

This study aims to explore extended working lives and the health effects of the physical working environment by interviewing road haulage drivers aged over 50 years from different organisations.


  • What are the challenges for older people in staying in sustainable employment? 
  • How are their opportunities constrained by the type of job or sector they work in, or the local labour market context?
  • In what ways are employers responding to the needs of an ageing workforce? Are there examples of ‘good practice’ where jobs have been redesigned to fit the needs of older workers? 
  • What are the barriers to employers implementing good practice?

Lead Investigator

Dr Sheena Johnson; Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester.

Partner organisations

  • European Work and Employment Research Centre, The University of Manchester.
  • The Fairness at Work Research Centre, The University of Manchester.


  • Strategic Investment Fund Lord Alliance, Alliance Manchester Business School.
  • Seedcorn funding award MICRA.
  • Centre for Ageing Better.

Subjects involved

  • Organisational Psychology.
  • Human Resource Management.



More information