Galway to Feature in New National Research with Older Worker

Galway has been selected as a location for a new study examining older workers in Ireland’s hospitality and retail sectors. The study, which is being conducted by researchers at UCD, will explore the experiences, opportunities and challenges faced by workers (women and men) aged 55 years and above who are living or working in the county.

The study is funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Low Pay Commission. Its results will be used to inform future public policy in this area.

Speaking on the project, its lead researcher Dr Micheál Collins of UCD said:

“Older workers are now a growing part of the workforce in Galway and throughout Ireland, and they are a group that will get larger as the population ages over the next few decades. However, we don’t know enough about this group, something this study intends to address”.

The study is particularly focused on older workers in the hospitality sector (pubs, restaurants, hotels etc) including those currently out of work because of the COVID-19 health pandemic lockdown measures and in the retail sector:

“Workers in hospitality have been particularly exposed to the challenges of the current Covid-19 pandemic and we will also collect information on these recent experiences”.

As part of the study, the UCD research team are looking to speak to workers throughout Co. Galway and environs who:

  • are at least 55 years old;
  • currently or recently worked in the hospitality sector (pubs, restaurants, hotels etc);
  • are/were employed more than 30 hours a week; and
  • earn/earned less than €12.50 per hour.

Those interested in taking part in the research, and completing a confidential interview (in the form of a chat by telephone or online by skype or zoom) can contact the research team by phone (call or text) on 089 270 8764 or by email at [email protected]

 

Further details of the research project;

  1. A team of researchers based at University College Dublin (UCD) are undertaking a research project focused on older workers in Ireland.
  2. The research is being led by economist Dr Micheál Collins of the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.
  3.  It is funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Low Pay Commission.

 

· Why this research?

  • Older people are now a growing part of the workforce
  • Those aged 55 and over made up:
  • 10 per cent of the labour force in 1998
  • 20 per cent of the labour force in 2018 (and this is expected to reach 25 per cent of the labour force over the next decade).
  • The research is intended to find out more about current workers in this age group working in the hospitality sector (pubs, restaurants, hotels etc) and in the retail sector
  • The results of the research will be used to inform future public policy in this area around: earnings, pensions, work hours, social insurance entitlements, and general public policy on employment opportunities and conditions.

Why focus on the West for this research?

  • The project will be researching older workers throughout Ireland
  • The West is an ideal focus as the hospitality sector is a big employer in many areas throughout the region.

Who are you looking to talk to?

Employees who are:

  • at least 55 years old
  • currently or recently worked in the hospitality sector (pubs, restaurants, hotels etc)
  • are/were employed more than 30 hours a week; and
  • earn/earned less than €12.50 per hour.

Why 55 years?

  • difficult to define what ‘older’ means
  • the Government and CSO classify those aged 55 and above as the older part of the workforce – so we have chosen that threshold (‘older not old’).

Why €12.50 per hour

  • there is a lot of policy focus on issues such as living wages
  • the current Programme for Government commits to exploring the introduction of a ‘living wage’…the Taoiseach also addressed this issue in his end of 2020 remarks to journalists before Christmas
  • research tells us that older workers have a higher risk of low pay than middle aged workers – so it is an interesting context
  • the current minimum wage is €10.20 per hour (from January 1st 2021)
  • the current living wage is €12.30 per hour
  • a threshold above both of these, so €12.50

What will you be asking people about?

  • why people choose to do the job that they do,
  • how they feel about their work,
  • and their future work plans.
  • plus…workers in hospitality have been particularly exposed to the challenges of the current Covid-19 pandemic and we will also collect insights on these recent experiences.

These sectors have been impacted hard by Covid-19 lockdowns etc. Can people who used to work in the sector pre-Covid take part?

  • Yes, we are looking to talk to current or recent workers in retail or hospitality.
  • We understand that many (most) are currently on the PUP

How can people contact you to participate?

  • Those interested in taking part in the research, and completing a confidential interview (in the form of a chat by telephone or online by skype or zoom) can contact the research team by phone (call or text) on 089 270 8764 or by email at [email protected]

What will you do with the results?

  • this is one aspect of nationwide study
  • processes in place to ensure confidentiality and anonymity for participants
  • will become part of a report on older workers in these sectors: inform Government policy, inform research in this area
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