Thursday, March 27, 2014

AgeUK Literature Review Finds Someone’s Age Bears No Relation to Worker's Ability To Do Most Jobs

A literature review conducted by AgeUK reports that someone's age bears no relation to their ability or capability to perform the vast majority of jobs. Thus, AgeUK recommends that employers reconsider their existing workforce and HR strategies, and develop more effective retirement policies that place the wellbeing of their older employees at the heart of the process.

In its review, AgeUK finds, among other things that:
  • The evidence shows either a lack of relationship between productivity and age, or that older workers are at least as productive as their younger colleagues. Even in physically
    demanding situations, for example on a factory production line, age is no barrier to working productively.
  • Measuring individual productivity is challenging for researchers. Older studies, which often suggest older workers are less productive, frequently rely on outdated assumptions about aging and health, or fail to account for a myriad of other factors. More recent studies, which often find older workers are at least as productive as younger workers, are better able to account for these.
  • As people age some cognitive and physical abilities do change—however, this does not
    make older workers better or worse than younger colleagues. There is no evidence of a substantive decline in ability in most people until well past the end of a typical working life. Aging affects everyone differently, and it is not possible to make predictions about any one individual’s capability.
  • The interaction between skills, knowledge and experience means that many tasks can in fact be performed better as people age, and raises challenges for employers about how best to utilize individuals’ skills and abilities.
  • Recognizing the challenges faced by older workers and offering solutions to mitigate them, for example flexible working to help people meet caring responsibilities, can help enhance individual productivity.
Source: AgeUK "Productivity and Age" (March 2014)

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