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Many employers have perceptions that older adults are less mentally and physically competent, that their productivity is lower, and their accident potential higher than that of younger workers. They also find them less suitable for training, resistant to change, and reluctant to learn new technologies. However, older workers have accrued experience and have personal and social characteristics that could make attractive as employees. A closer look at the job market and the most efficient group in terms of service delivery appears to be those in the lower age bracket.
Numerous changes have taken place in the patterns of employment. In the recent past, there has been an increasing demand for the elderly when it comes to recruitment of labor force (Walter, 2010). A recent study of the dynamics in the job market revealed that in the near future, the elderly will hold dominion of the work force. This can partly be attributed to the longer life expectancies marked over the course of the 20th century. The proportion of older Australians, for example, is bound to increase to between 23 and 25 percent.
Another remarkable trend is the extension of the retirement age for both developing and developed countries. Many countries among them the US have seen the seniors extend the retirement age. This is as result of the better health services administered thanks to technological advancement thus the elderly are able to live long. A shrink in the birth rate has also played a role in this trend causing the would-be retirees to cling to their jobs.
Among the many reasons why the older generation continues to work are the health-challenged young workers. Obesity, for example, is increasingly becoming a threat to the younger generation and is costing the economy of many states a vast deal of money and workforce. The list of diseases accompanying weight problems is endless. The elderly thus continue working as they lack successors.
Qualitative analysis of the job satisfaction levels of the elderly workforce is relatively high compared to that of the younger generation (Committee, 2000). This is because the elderly tend to draw their fulfillment from achievement of the program's objectives. They viewed their role more as providing or ensuring services to their clients. The younger generation, on the other hand, appears to be shallow mind as their main concern lies in the reward in terms of pay and promotion.
Older workers exhibit a certain level of maturity that the younger generation lacks in terms of reasoning probably because of the work experience. They are rational in their analysis of situations contrary to their counterparts who are spontaneous in their decision making. With older workers, there are also reduced labor costs. Most elderly workers have alternative sources of income and are therefore willing to compromise in terms of pay.
Organizational skills seem to be a missing trait in the younger generation giving the elderly a competitive edge over them. A lot of working hours go to waste because of workplace disorganization so to avoid this; employers prefer to hire the elderly. This group of people is also willing to stay later to get a job done owing it to their sense of pride in the final product.
Focus is a very evident trait among the elderly. Most people in the older age bracket are attentive and extremely keen to detail. This adds a tremendously intangible value and saves the business of a great deal of money lost from recklessness. Due to their monitoring ability, these traits eventually rub off on their colleagues and there is marked efficiency.
A study of worker's productivity rate in relation to their age groups proved that the elderly exhibit slightly higher productivity than the younger generation (Cihon, 2008). A major part of this is accounted for by satisfaction they have drawn in life thus are able to give their best if not their all to their professions. Looking at their counterparts, the difference is massive as they are still trying to find themselves in the job market proving to be indecisive.
Communication is key in maintenance of one's productivity, an aspect that the elderly seem to have grasped or better yet mastered to the core. Through many years of experience, they are able to express themselves whenever they have any issue. This is probably the reason why most industrial boycotts are majorly organized by the younger population. They lack communication skills and are unable to express themselves when they feel oppressed. This hinders their efficiency and proficiency in their workplaces.
Many employers may argue that the elderly are expensive to hire but, that is not the case. In actual fact, the hiring of the elderly accompanies reduced labor costs. This is due to the fact that most of them already have insurance plans from their former employers. Also with the current trend of health-challenged young workers, companies are spending more on the welfare of the younger generation.
Training is also an added expense to the businesses opting for the younger workers. The elderly have an added advantage resulting from years of experience in the respective fields. The younger generation, on the other hand, lacks key skills thus businesses have to put in a lot of resources into training them. This lack of familiarity and experience is among the costs an entrepreneur has to deal with among their other expenses.
However, with all the benefits accrued from hiring the elderly, some jobs have proven to be exceptions to The Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This especially applies to jobs where people are expected to work under harsh environmental or even psychological conditions. Some examples of jobs that do not apply this act are like firefighting or policemen (Guerin, 2009). These, for example, pose a serious risk on the health of people in this age group.
The nature of some occupations does undermine the Age Discrimination in Employment Act to take its course. Allowing for this act would only cause harm to the people who this act seeks to protect. Theatrical woks are rather discriminatory in this area (Cross, 2007). If, for example, the director wants to hire an actor to play the role of a child, it is rather obvious that he will go for a person with a youthful face.
To avoid being discriminatory, the employers ask for medical reports indicating that the prospective is fit for the position being vied for. Most elderly people are cut off but on relevant jurisdiction. Promotion is done by the criteria of performance appraisal to ensure fairness. This is to say one's input determines their output. Other companies may put in the length of company service as a criterion for promotion to accommodate the elderly.
From this study, employers should seek to find the best when looking for labor. Discrimination for the elderly should be avoided by all means unless it cannot be avoided like in the situations seen above. Efficiency should be the principal criteria to consider in the recruitment of employees rather than mere detail like age.