Raymond Montizaan Raymond Montizaan Sacha Ruland

Do we work happily ever after? - Raymond Montizaan

Written by  Femke Kools Friday, 24 August 2012 11:16
How do you keep people motivated whilst working longer?

Could you describe your research?
The central question is: which measures encourage people to work for longer and which do not? The restriction of pension rights in the public sector in 2006 in an attempt to encourage working longer shows a negative effect on work motivation. People who only just missed out on a "broader" retirement turn out to be often more depressed than those who just keep this right.

This is one of the findings from my dissertation that I defended last year. My current research compares, among other things, how employees look at the personnel policy in comparison to employers. There appears to be quite a difference. But, I also study what people expect from their pension and how it is possible that usually in reality their expectations are not met. Young people should be aware that, by the time they finally retire, they will receive a much lower pension. They will have to save to have a reasonable income when the time finally comes.

What were the other conclusions of your thesis?
I have compared two groups of male workers from a file belonging to a large pension fund: men born in 1949 and in1950 respectively. Because of the abolishment of the “pre-pension” with early retirement, the second group receives a lower pension than the first group. The "50-ers" feel unfairly treated in comparison to the slightly older people who will have a better pension. People who feel a strong urge to retaliate are less committed to their work. Only in larger organizations it appears that the group that has to work longer participates more frequently in training. For others it remains doubtful whether they remain productive when they are forced to work longer in this way.

What is your approach?
I send out surveys to the target group through a large pension fund every year and analyze and interpret the data accordingly. These are large-scale studies; this year alone I already have data from some 11,000 employees and 1,600 employers.  I have only just received the data for my current research: I feel a bit like a child in a sweet shop.

What is the societal relevance of your research?
With the idea that everyone will have to work longer, it is automatically assumed that they will also remain as productive. According to my research this is unjustified. It is important to know how to keep people motivated and healthy whilst working longer. With this in mind, a company’s Human Resources policy should be set up much better. In addition, everyone hopes in time to enjoy his retirement, but not everyone appears to be able to estimate what that will amount to. In particular, financial illiterate people head for a major problem. What should a pension fund or government do about that? This is a very relevant question for all parties.

How multidisciplinary is your research?
Very! Within our own faculty we work with the Department of Organization & Strategy. Next to that, we work a lot with (behavioral) psychologists and health scientists.

The Dies theme is ‘Inspired by quality’. Who or what inspires you?
The question: "What do people want to know?" Socially relevant questions that provide understandable and useful research. I also think the quality of research is very important. I am very critical of my own results. I should be able to kick it from all angles and the result should still hold up.

Why did you choose to do this research at this university in particular?
The ROA is one of the most important labor market institutes in Europe. Here there are some thirty labour economists together, who are involved in each other's research. That makes it a pleasant environment in which you get good feedback on your work. And next to that, I cross the Vrijthof every morning when I walk to work: that is also an important factor for my own job satisfaction.

 

 



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