Entrepreneurship and financial planning are core themes of retirement programs
The rise of business programs that prepare employees for retirement is related to neoliberal logic, stimulating life projects with an emphasis on new economic activities. As well as information on comprehensive health and well-being, these guidance initiatives for older workers address topics such as entrepreneurship and financial planning, reinforcing the narrative that professionals are individually responsible for their financial future in light of Brazil’s poorly regarded social security system.
These are among the findings set out in an article written by Maria José Tonelli, a researcher at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Sao Paulo School of Business Administration (FGV EAESP), published in Mackenzie Management Review. Tonelli and her fellow researchers interviewed nine specialists at five consulting firms that offer retirement preparation programs and at two client companies that signed up for these programs. The consulting firms are headquartered in the state of Sao Paulo but they provide services throughout Brazil.
The consulting firms’ work reveals different conceptions of aging in the labor market. At senior hierarchical levels, the experience of older people is valued and they are less impacted by companies’ downsizing processes. The article also points out that most senior managers who participate in retirement preparation programs are men.
On the other hand, in operational positions that demand physical strength and agility, age is seen as an obstacle to continuity in the function. “We verified that retirement preparation programs operate as a way of pacifying organizational conflicts by ‘humanizing’ the dismissal of older, operational-level employees, in order to make this process more gradual and predictable, reducing risks of labor lawsuits,” the authors write.