We live in a unique time in the workplace, where for the first time ever we are seeing five generations of workers. Studies have revealed that as many as 40% of the working population falls between the 45-64 age range. In fact, research has indicated that by 2021, workers over the age of 55 will make up nearly 20% of our workforce. Having an aging workforce does come with its advantages. Older workers for example, are thought to be more loyal than younger workers, and many older workers also possess a very strong work ethic.
But what about older workers approach to change? Keeping up with the constant changes that occur both in technology, and in industry, have created a need for organisations to continuously reinvent the way that their workforce functions. So how are older workers adjusting to this level of change in the workforce, in comparison to younger workers? In this article we will be discussing the impact that change in the workplace is having on older age workers, and how they compare to their younger counterparts.
Advantages of Older Workers
Older workers come with many advantages. This is due in part to the fact that they have been active members of the workforce for many years. This experience gives older workers a unique edge in institutional knowledge, it also helps them to produce a higher quality of work. Older workers are also less likely to pursue a career change, which means they are less likely to leave their current positions. That being said, having an older worker on your workforce can prove to be a fantastic asset to your business. If you have valued older employees who are struggling with change you may be able to benefit from change management courses.
The impact of change in the workplace
Now more than ever employees are finding themselves having to re-train for a position that they have been in for years. This is especially true for older workers. And it is unfortunately a truth that many older workers are struggling to cope with. Employees on a whole have at least some resistance to change. Change can be scary, and some people fear the unknown and are apprehensive about having to move out of their comfort zones. This is a fact that reigns true for workers of all ages.
For older workers, however, these changes can be more intimidating. This is because up until recently (the last 20 years or so), changes in the workplace were far more subtle than they are now. Older workers had experience on their side, they were the people training the younger workforce in their positions. This is where seeking out change management consultants may be of help.
Today, advances in technology, and in industry have turned the tables. Now, we have an older generation of workers being trained by the younger generation. Can you imagine how strange it must be to be trained by a 25-year-old person, in a position that you yourself have worked in for 26 years? This is a reality that older workers are having to face – and it comes as no surprise that this is being met with some resistance from our older workforce. But it by no means indicates that resistance to change is only existent in older workers- It does however appear that older employees are more likely to struggle with changes in the workplace than younger ones.