Vital Aging Network

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Facts about Employers

Common beliefs of employers

  • Age is a deterrent to productivity.
  • Jobs are not important to the older worker.
  • Aging is correlated with diminishing value on the job.
  • Older workers are rigid, inflexible, and unable to compete mentally.
  • It is difficult to train older workers; that is, it is not worth it.

Common blocks to older workers continuing to work

  • Incentives for early retirement.
  • Fixed work hours and days limit their freedom and flexibility in managing family caregiving and other activities.
  • Employers often do not offer retraining opportunities to older workers.
  • Employers are anxious to replace higher-paid, experienced workers with lower-paid starters.
  • Younger supervisors have negative attitudes about older workers.

Advantages of older workers to employers

  • They have reliable work habits.
  • They are loyal to the job and the firm.
  • They possess experience.
  • They are stable employees with reduced turnover.
  • They feel less concern about advancement.
  • They show equal or better productivity rates.
  • They do not necessarily need standard fringe benefits.
  • They are willing to work on a part-time, on a temporary, and/or on a seasonal basis.

Considerations for employers in using older workers

  • Their use may require changes in the design of the work environment, with larger characters on computer screens, higher lighting, and use of acoustics to reduce loud noises.
  • Employers may need to change the design of equipment to reduce high physical demands and to simplify tasks requiring multiple or fine-motor skills.
  • Older workers may need training and/or job redesign to avoid age-related declines in performance.
  • Employers may need to train supervisors in job-relevant information about older workers.

Page Author: Jan Hively

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