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Is 75 the new 65?

by on February 19, 2014

Sponsored by Towers Watson is this report entitled Is 75 the new 65? Rising to the challenges of an ageing workforce from The Economist Group.

The full report which is available to download via the Economist Website includes sections with catchy titles such as ‘Thriving in a grey world’ ‘Age concern’ and ‘You are as old as you feel’ which, especially when considered along with the title, give the sense of a marketing gimmick as a opposed to a research report.  Once again we are left somewhat frustrated by the lack of rigorous research design involved in the questionnaire.

Respondents were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed with a selection of statements about ‘older workers’.  Older workers are not defined nor are respondents asked what age or age bracket they categorise as older.  So it is a bit tricky to assess how the report supports the title statement that ’75 is the new 65′.  One respondent might complete the survey with a perception that an ‘older worker’ is 35, another 55, another 75 but we simply don’t know.  As is common in surveys of this type all the questions ask for a comparison against ‘younger workers’ who remain similarly undefined.  The questions posed included:

‘Older workers are less productive than younger workers are’

‘Older workers have greater skills than younger workers do’

‘Older workers are less motivated than younger workers are’

‘Older workers are easier to manage than younger workers’

‘Older workers take more time off for health reasons than younger workers’

Perhaps it is unsurprising that a largest percentage of the responses fall into the ‘neither agree or disagree’ category for each question!  Still for those that like these things there are some lovely ‘infographics’ to show your friends.

Quite frankly I would expect more from these organizations and that Towers Watson seem happy to report  that “Thankfully, few UK employers report negative attitudes towards older worker” on the basis of these survey results is somewhat puzzling. So is 75 the new 65, we don’t think this report can answer the question it poses.


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