Reconceptualising Work-Retirement Transitions: Critiques of the New Retirement and Bridge Employment

  • Catherine Earl
  • Philip Taylor


There is an extensive and growing research literature, particularly in the psychology and management disciplines, concerning ‘bridge employment’ which, it is argued, is increasingly occurring between the end of a career job and full retirement. However, this area is undertheorized and lacks an appreciation of the wider literature concerned with work and retirement, in particular being informed by the political economy and life course perspectives. Bridging the gap between work and retirement is of current concern as governments extend the ages at which people work and retire, with retirement, once considered the moral foundation of social welfare systems, being refashioned as a kind of unemployment. This chapter takes a critical stance on the concept of bridge employment, questioning its utility for researchers and policymakers as a lens through which to view the evolution of work–retirement transitions.


Older workers Bridge employment Retirement Work–retirement transitions Extended working lives Public policy 



This research on which this chapter is based was supported by Australian Research Council grant LP0990703.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Earl
    • 1
  • Philip Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Federation Business SchoolFederation University AustraliaBallaratAustralia

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