ERIC Number: ED392894
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Older Workers. Myths and Realities.
An increasing proportion of the work force is aging at the same time that the workplace is changing in ways that are detrimental to older workers. Attitudes and beliefs about older workers appear to be ambivalent. Studies show that employers and managers stereotype older workers as loyal and possessing good work habits but inflexible and difficult to train. The relationship between age and job performance is complex and far from understood. Much research on aging and work performance has not included a detailed analysis of contextual factors--such as opportunities for retraining--that provide a link between individual changes and work performance. No basis exists for the stereotypes surrounding the ability of older adults to learn new skills. The more critical issue related to training for older workers is lack of access. Older workers do not fear change; they fear discrimination. Ageism, resulting in a grey ceiling that denies older workers equal opportunity and equitable treatment, appears to be a serious issue in the workplace. The most significant barriers and deterrents are managerial biases that older workers are too costly, too inflexible, and too difficult to train. Biases can be overcome through providing companies with more information about the relationship between older workers' assimilation of job-related training and their learning style and a better understanding of older adults' responses to new technology. (Contains 13 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH.