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Philosophers, scholars, artists, and social psychologists have struggled to come up with an answer to that question for years. According to research by psychologist Roy Baumeister and colleagues, five factors differentiate meaning and happiness.
In the U. This is largely a result of baby boomers reaching retirement at a rate faster than millennials are able to step into their place.
To continue to grow our economy, companies need to take action by bringing older people back to work and giving them meaningful, important jobs. This may seem simple, but age bias is a serious hurdle. Many companies prioritize hiring cheaper, younger workers who they believe are more valuable than someone more expensive with more expertise. Contrary to popular belief, however, older, more tenured people are more successful entrepreneurs.
Companies that want to see our economy flourish need to take action and give them more opportunities. But perhaps one of the biggest and most problematic types of bias we face is the bias of age: we often evaluate people based on their ageand this is now becoming a major challenge in the workplace.
Over two-thirds of the companies considered older age a competitive disadvantage. This is consistent with data from the AARP that shows two-thirds of individuals age 45 to 74 have experienced age-related discrimination.
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In other words, if you are older, you are likely to be considered less capable, less able to adapt, or less willing to roll up your sleeves and do something new than your younger peers. Much has been written about this recently, because the workforce is aging at a rapid rate.
In fact, this same cohort of workers is the fastest growing in almost every country. We face two clear demographic trends.
On hacking life, business, and learning
First, and this is of course something we should celebrate, we are living longer. The average longevity of a human life goes up three months each year. It is now 79 years, and by the end of the century, it should reach Second, young people are having fewer childrenand fertility rates are declining throughout the industrialized world.
This means the only way these economies can grow is through improvements in productivity which are not happening or immigration which is a political issue at the heart of most populist and nationalist candidates.
We argue that companies must bring older people back to work and give them meaningful, important jobs. The myth propagated by the retirement industry is that people over the age of 65 should retire. Many people, particularly those who have enjoyed long and meaningful careers, do like to work. Why would we want to retire if we love our work?
Countless individuals in their 60s and 70s are actively engaged with their careers, and certain to avoid retirement. At 89, Warren Buffett is still regarded as one of the most brilliant brains in the world of finance, and Charlie Munger, his righthand man, is At 61, Madonna is the undisputed queen of pop. At 81, Jane Fonda is as prolific as ever in her careers as an actress and activist. In addition, the most important job in the U.
Only two presidents ended their tenure under the age of 50 and one of them was JFK. The other 43 were 50 or older, including 22 aged 60 or older. All this suggests that age does correspond with workplace wisdom, and research proves it.
Why you should stop trying to be happy at work
Contrary to popular belief, older, more tenured people are more successful entrepreneurs. Our career systems, pay systems, and recruitment and assessment systems are deed against hiring older people.
The scientific evidence on this issue shows differently : For most people, raw mental horsepower declines after the age of 30, but knowledge and expertise — the main predictors of job performance — keep increasing even beyond the age of There is also ample evidence to assume that traits like drive and curiosity are catalysts for new skill acquisition, even during late adulthood.
When it comes to learning new things, there is just no age limit, and the more intellectually engaged people remain when they are olderthe more they will contribute to the labor market.
Beside the value and competence older employees can bring to the workforce, there is the issue of cognitive diversity. Few things of value have ever been accomplished by individuals working alone. The vast majority of our advancements — whether in science, business, arts, or sports — are the result of coordinated human activity, or people working together as a cohesive unit.
The best way to maximize team output is to increase cognitive diversitywhich is ificantly more likely to occur if you can get people of different ages and experiences working together.
To truly overcome age discrimination, and the damage it could bring to our global economy, companies need to take action. Here we provide a list of suggestions:. As the global economy ages, ageism bias will become a more important issue than ever. Remember that many people — no matter their age — do not have enough money to retire even if they wanted to. All this to say, people of every age are motivated to come to work.
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Subscribe for unlimited access. Generational issues. The Case for Hiring Older Workers. Many companies consider age a competitive disadvantage.
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on Generational issues or related topics Economy and Social responsibility. Josh Bersin is founder of Bersin by Deloitteand now the Josh Bersin Academythe research and professional development academy for HR and business leaders.
He is a global research analyst, public speaker, and writer on the topics of corporate human resources, talent management, recruiting, leadership, technology, and the intersection between work and life. Find him on Twitter: drtcp or at www. Partner Center.