Older Workers Are More Consistent And Have Less Bad Days
No matter where you go in the world youth worshiped and age is frowned upon making job opportunities for older workers sometimes bleak. This stigma is why I found this new research so refreshing and positive and will hopefully enter main stream knowledge and consideration.
In a nut shell, Older workers are more consistent, more reliable and have fewer ‘bad days at the office’, researchers say.
The study looked at how age affected variability in work performance and at whether we really do have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days in cognitive function.
A series of tests carried out on workers aged 65-plus and 20-somethings found the older age group performed tasks more consistently with less variability than the younger employees.
They put this down to older workers having a consistently higher level of motivation, a balanced routine and a stable mood.
The research was launched in a bid to discover whether age makes a difference in the day-to-day variability in cognitive performance.
Dr Florian Schmiedek, from Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development, said that in all age groups day-to-day performance variability was low, with fluctuations tending to occur within shorter time frames.
But this up and down performance was rarer in older workers than their younger colleagues, reports journal Psychological Science.
Dr Schmiedek’s team tested more than 200 younger (ages 20-31) and older (ages 65-80) adults on twelve different tasks revealed significant age differences.
These tasks – testing perceptual speed, episodic memory, and working memory – were repeated across 100 days.
In all nine cognitive tasks assessed, the older group actually showed less performance variability from day to day than the younger group.
The older adults’ cognitive performance was therefore more consistent across days, and this picture remained unaltered when differences in average performance favoring the young were taken into account.
Further analyses indicate that the older adults’ higher consistency is due to learned strategies to solve the task, a constantly high motivation level, as well as a balanced daily routine and stable mood.’
He said that the findings have implications in the debate about older people’s potential in the workplace.
His colleague Professor Axel Bvrsch-Supan explained: ‘One of our studies in the car production industry has shown that serious errors that are expensive to resolve are much less likely to be committed by older staff members than by their younger colleagues.
Perhaps the study will help change the opinion of employers who tend to avoid hiring older workers.