Older worker stereotypes overturned
March 11, 2013 2 Comments
A new academic study confirms that almost all negative generalizations about employees over the age of 40 are untrue.
A recently published article, Evaluating Six Common Stereotypes about Older Workers with Meta-Analytical Data by Thomas W.H. Ng (University of Hong Kong) and Daniel C. Feldman (University of Georgia) presents the findings of an analysis of around 400 studies of older workers’ performance.
The paper finds that nearly all negative stereotypes about this group are unfounded and suggests, as the number of older workers continues to increase, that managers should reconsider widely-held misconceptions that often lead to age discrimination.
The study examines six of the most common and damaging stereotypes: i.e. that, compared with younger workers, older employees are (1) less motivated, (2) less willing to engage in training and career development programs, (3) more resistant to change, (4) not as trusting, (5) more likely to experience health problems that affect their work, and (6) more vulnerable to work–family conflicts.
The authors found empirical support for only one of those stereotypes. Older workers, on average, are indeed less likely to engage in career development—an attitude that relates, at least in part, to training programs designed for younger employees. The five other stereotypes were unfounded.
For further information, see http://www.strategy-business.com/article/re00225?gko=70968