Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Research: Older Workers Good Fit for Hospitality Industry without Needing New Skills Training

A study of the employment of older workers in a range of organizations from Scotland's hospitality sector and visitor attraction centers, has found that, in terms of older workers, workforce development might best be focused on utilizing existing skills rather than acquiring new ones. According to Dr. Roy Canning of the University of Stirling, "in many cases older workers were very much the sort of people who fit in with what the hospitality industry is looking for. They are flexible and can work seasonal and odd hours for competitive wages, as the post-retirement job often is a supplement for their pension."

Older workers were found to be generally highly valued employees within organizations, especially since they could contribute experiences as former employees from related enterprises and would provide informal support of colleagues. In addition, older workers were seen as reliable with excellent customer service skill-sets and a strong work ethic, and there were few conflict situations between them and younger managers.

Canning first published results of his investigation in "Tapping older workers' experience", the summer 2010 issue of "Society Today", the journal of the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council):
Findings further suggest there is no need to try and shape the occupational identity of older workers. A good fit can be achieved by recruitment and selection followed by appropriate training and development. Training and development interventions for older workers should, on the most part, concentrate on team building, skill utilisation within collaborative practice and encouragement of self-directed learning.
Source: University of Stirling News Release (July 9, 2010)

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