Age management – current situation with regards to local job market situation

At the very beginning of this chapter we need to note that the word phrase of “age management” used in the Slovak environment is quite known and has been referred to in various studies for last 5 years. The issue is indeed, that in many cases the concept itself and some of its parts have been arbitrary “splintered” which resulted in that only few people can actually identify what the whole concept is about. Over the last two years, that we as an organization were strongly interested in this concept, we came across various definitions and explanations. What is important, however, that in Slovakia, so far there has not been any licensed measurement of the capacity to work which is crucial part of the age management concept.

The Initiative, thanks to a strong foreign partner from the Czech Republic who already has an invaluable experience in implementing age management in the country culturally, historically, and demographically, could start to develop its strong and new potential, i.e. the concept of age management. Currently, it is up to the individual members of the above mentioned Initiative, what they can draw and profit from the outcomes of various events, such as the conference “Age Management and the National Programme for Active Ageing” held on February 16th 2015 in Bratislava. This project with the title “It is high time for age management” conducted by non-profit organization Bagar o.z., did not pointed out only age discrimination but also tried to show that socioeconomic background and thus the topic of employment of elderly plays very important role.

This conference was followed by “Age Management Workshop” held on February 26th 2015 in Bratislava, and, among other things, Mrs. Ilona Štorová together with Mr. Jiří Fukan presented their experience with the introduction and implementation of age management in the Czech Republic, namely in the Czech Labour Office in Brno.

And further, Mr. PhDr. Miloš Němeček presented the topic of “Active ageing as a challenge and an opportunity” on the expert conference held on September 23, 2015 in Bánska Bystrica during an event called Lifelong Learning Week.

Another very successful event connected to age management held in Slovakia was HR Salon No. 14, which was organized by VKC INTENZIVA Ltd. in cooperation with Age Management Balancing n. o. and Bagar o.z. This annual conference was entirely dedicated to the topic of age management. In addition to the themes the fully presented the experience with the implementation of age management in the Czech Republic (lecturer Mrs. Ilona Štorová), it included also the lectures on the results of measurement of working capacity (lecturer RNDr. Bohumil Pokorný, CSc.). Moreover, a prominent Slovak sociologist, Mrs. Zora Bútorová, held a very interesting lecture 50 + does not mean minus. This lady also managed to invite Prof. Dr. (emer.) Juhani Ilmarinen Ph.D, the author of the concept of age management from Finland, to Slovakia in 2008 within the project activities and realization of project called “Plus for women 45+.”

Another interesting fact is that since 2008 Slovakia has had translated one of the key publication of Prof. Ilmarinen, “Towards a Longer Worklife” (2005) with Slovak title “How to prolong an active life.” This publication translated into Slovak language has been a catalyst for launching the interest in age management in the Czech Republic.

The latest event connected to age management held in the Slovak Republic was “HR Days” which took place on April 26th in Bratislava where Mr. Michal Kišša in the context of its contribution “CSR Strategy” referred to the possibilities and age management tools used to promote this concept.

Therefore, we can say, that age management in Slovakia has been gaining more space also in the academic field, which is transformed into practice in the form of contributions to various professional conferences and also in the academic theses. For example, the Central Register of final qualification listed first five diploma thesis with a clear focus on age management in 2016, such as:

Kečkešová, D. (2016). Age management – Pushing through changes in established systems at area of labour market. [Diploma thesis]. Available here:*recview&uid=1467839&pageId=main&full=0

Kasáková, A. (2016). Age management as an important part of of human resource management in selected sector of services. [Diploma thesis]. Available here:*recview&uid=1471325&pageId=resultform&full=0&focusName=bsktchRZ2. As a good practice example we point out a specific website that was created within the realization of this thesis:

Kotek, I. (2016). Age management. [Diploma thesis]. Available here:

Paľová, M. (2016). Age management – Promotion of changes in the established systems in the area of labour market. [Diploma thesis]. Available here:*recview&uid=1470303&pageId=resultform&full=0&focusName=bsktchRZ4.

Hlásniková, P. (2016). Dual education and its importance in the field of age management in Železiarňe Podbrezová a. s. [Diploma thesis]. Available here:*recview&uid=1444119&pageId=resultform&full=0&focusName=bsktchRZ5.

This list needs to be completed by a diploma thesis completed in 2013 under supervision by Doc. PhDr. Rozália Čornaničová, a key figure in the field of adult education and geragogy in Slovakia:

Sabová, L. (2013). Education of Human Resources department specialists in the field of age management. [Diploma thesis]. Available here:*recview&uid=1249418&pageId=resultform&full=0&focusName=bsktchRZ2#

Our organization Aptet N.O. has also been mentioned in some of the above listed diploma theses and we are proud of it as our organization intends to continue its efforts to create a community of people who are strongly interested in the concept of age management. Therefore, we will continue to communicate this thought further, we will address not only the experts who work in academy field, but also for example the authors of above mentioned diploma theses and encourage them to further develop and enhance the age management concept in their fields of interest.

Unfortunately to this day, age management as a comprehensive system has not yet been implemented into the corporate practice. Some concept fragments that focus more on staff health promotion has been incorporated as project activities in some projects dealing with age diversity in the work place and as an important substance of work as such. However, with the development of CSR, corporate social responsibility, the closer attention to the various prevalent stereotypes in the workplace in relation to older workers has already been drawn and hopefully will be further elaborated.

One more example of good practice in age management in Slovakia: In April 2013, The Business Leader Forum (informal association of companies that committed themselves to be leaders in promoting CSR principles in Slovakia) issued recommendations on corporate responsibility in the field of active ageing in the workplace which were focused on some good practice examples in the following six areas of age management:

Health in and outside the workplace (examples of good practice: organizations Slovalco Inc. and a branch of Pfizer offer extra health care for their elderly workers),

Organization of work (example of good practice: Východoslovenská energetika Ltd., allows its workers to adjust working hours to their needs and allows the possibility to work from home)

Lifelong learning and career development (e.g.: memory training courses for elderly workers)

Utilization of experience involving older workers (example of good practice: Embraco Slovakia Ltd. Supports opportunities to benefit  from the knowledge and experience of older workers and also already retired workers who still participate on the working process)

Preparation for retirement (e.g. seminars on economic, financial and social aspects of retirement for elderly workers, partial working scheme etc.)

Corporate culture (example of good practice: organization U.S. Steel Košice, s.r.o. maintains contacts with their retired employees through social events, supporting the club of pensioners, senior gym or contribution to meal vouchers and annual traditional volunteering day).

More information is here:účania%20BLF/Odporucania_BLF_Aktivne%20starnutie_april2013.pdf.

In addition to above mentioned examples, we can add examples of good practice by company VUJE a.s., which cooperates with the former older employees that are often hired as consultants for various projects. Older workers usually act as mentor to younger colleagues (Cimbálníková et al, 2012).

Initiative that brings us together

To sum up, we can say that the very concept of age management is being slowly but increasingly noticed and thought of in Slovakia. It is an object of interest in the academic field as well as within the political and corporate background, thus at the very beginning.  An isolated and spontaneous projects have been arising that interconnect the elements of age management into their activities. Unfortunately, such minor activities lack, in addition to certain level of consistency, a crucial parameter – long-term duration. We need to keep in mind that the actions taken today will be fully reflected in terms of decades. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain relevant data and achieve the desired effect without some form or level of coordination and cooperation. Initiative has the potential to be a sponsor and gestor of a meaningful and technically correct implementation of the concept of age management in the Slovak Republic.



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