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Evaluating Six Common Stereotypes About Older Workers with Meta-Analytical Data

by on March 4, 2013

This is the title of an academic paper by Thomas Ng and Daniel Feldman published in November 2012 in which the authors assess the evidence for 6 common stereotypes relating to older workers.

These stereotypes suggest that older workers are: (a) less motivated, (b) generally less willing to participate in training and career development, (c) more resistant and less willing to change, (d) less trusting, (e) less healthy, and (f) more vulnerable to work-family imbalance.

The authors conclude that the only stereotype consistent with empirical evidence is that older workers are less willing to participate in training and career development activities.

Other research has found that older workers are less likley to receive offers of training than their younger counterparts when they are in employment (McNair, 2006; Taylor & Urwin, 2001), when they do it is likely to be of lower quality than that given to their younger counterparts (Felstead, 2010) with one explanation being an expected lower return. Accordingly, reluctance to take the training when offered mght be part of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Ng & Feldman suggest.

The paper is available to download from this link (subscription required) but the Strategy + Business website has today published this article summarising the key points of the paper.

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