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Disentangling effects of age and career preferences on the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intention and behavior: An examination in three samples

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Tschopp Cécile, Grote Gudela, Köppel Nicole,
Project Schweizer Human-Relations-Barometer
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Work, Aging and Retirement
Page(s) wav022 - wav022
Title of proceedings Work, Aging and Retirement
DOI 10.1093/workar/wav022

Open Access


Given the growing concern for managing an aging workforce, the generally lower inclination for voluntary turnover of older employees can be considered good news for companies. However, there is also evidence that certain unsatisfactory working conditions will prompt higher turnover intention among these employees. Our study aimed to disentangle the effects of age-related and age-independent preferences in the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intention and behavior. We particularly analyzed the role of independent career orientation additionally to age and hypothesized a three-way interaction such that lower job satisfaction would be related to higher turnover intention and behavior for older employees with a stronger independent career orientation. We found support for this hypothesis in two large cross-sectional surveys of employees ( N s = 1,416, 1,446) and a time-lagged study ( N = 146) in which actual turnover was measured 3.5 years after the assessment of job satisfaction and career orientation. Our findings add to the aging, career, and turnover literatures by showing that both age-related life stage preferences and relatively age-independent career preferences act together in moderating the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover. We discuss practical implications for HR management regarding employee retention and career counseling.