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Are you ready for the demographic changes already upon us and those estimated in the next 30 years?

“It has been estimated that the percentage of individuals over 50 (in Europe and Central Asia) will rise from 28% to 40% in 2050” (World Bank, 2011, cited in Lieberman, Wegge & Muller, 2013).

The generation gap and its impact on what people want from work and how employers manage and lead this are vast.  Retirement age is increasing.  Not only does ‘talent management’ need to wake up to this reality but ‘corporate wellness’ does too.  There won’t be any point in having talent practices that account for the generational changes if the employees in the over 50-age group aren’t “fit to focus”.

The CIPD’s employer guide for Managing a Healthy Ageing Workforce cites that the UK will have an estimated 13.5 million job vacancies to fill in the next 10 years but only 7 million young people will be leaving schools and colleges during this period.  Migration alone will not fill this gap.

In a recent article by Tatana Gulko of OPP published in Assessment & Development Matters Vol. 6. No. 2, the subject of ‘personality’ and how this influences our perception of a workplace is explored:  “Research suggests that conscientiousness and agreeableness increase with age, while neuroticism decreases… (Soto et al., 2011).  In addition, life span aging theories (e.g. Baltes & Baltes 1990) are purported to suggest that characteristics of the workplace can influence individuals of varying ages differently.  In particular the research results suggest that; Increased age leads to:

  • more comfort in an organisation where employees have responsibility for many areas
  • less comfort in an organisation where jobs are insecure… despite opportunities for higher pay
  • more comfort in an organisation where employees have role clarity (to support the need for higher rule consciousness, ad higher self reliance and lower abstractedness)
  • more comfort in an organisation with emphasis on employee loyalty.

Unfortunately evidence continues to show that many employers are not responding to this demographic challenge and the CIPD have observed that there is a general failure to act in a coherent and strategic way.

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