Deconstructing ageism among older informal workers: a systematic review

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This study aims to conduct a systematic review of existing literature on ageism among older informal workers, as most studies have focused on formal work settings. Specifically, it seeks to identify the scope and characteristics of ageism that older informal workers encounter and its influence on their work and well-being.

This paper follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) framework to conduct a systematic review. Eleven studies from six databases were included and thematically analysed.

The findings revealed four main themes: the contextual nature of ageism, dimensions of work-related ageism, navigating work-related challenges, and effects on well-being. These themes highlight that, despite being perceived as experienced and reliable, older informal workers face exclusion from work opportunities as they are perceived as unproductive and less capable of acquiring new skills. These negative perceptions significantly impacted their willingness to continue working and overall well-being.

Practical implications
The findings offer an overview of extant research and the direction for future research and policy interventions to address ageism among older informal workers. The findings are crucial for enhancing older workers' quality of life, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where population ageing is the fastest.

This study is one of the few to systematically explore and evaluate empirical evidence on ageism in the informal work sector. It thus expands existing knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of ageism in a least explored context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Early online date4 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Ageism
  • Inclusive work environment
  • Informal economy
  • Older workers
  • Social policy
  • Well-being


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