The UK recently raised its retirement age to 68 and it has certain implications for the workforce. We look into its effects as far as productivity, expectations and work practices.
An interesting article on Medium.com laid out what an aging workforce could mean for economies. Between 2000–2019, people between 50–64 experienced a significant increase in employment. Now, around 72% of people in that age category are employed in work, which is up 10% from 2000.
This means companies need to balance its older staff and its young employees. Both factions have different needs, expectations and ways of working.
Contrary to popular belief, productivity does not seem to dwindle with age. One thing is clear though, performance gets better with age. With tenureship, older workers develop mastery of their craft. Due to age prejudice, older workers find it harder to perform well in their careers. As companies become more inclined to onboard the youth, they may feel less motivated to participate. Younger employees are also associated with innovation. The article suggests that although younger workers tend to be more optimistic about the world of work, older workers can be just as innovative. The key to innovation is not individual ambition, but instead collaboration.
Although the effects on productivity are not so clear, we would hope that older workers are more effective. Due to their years of experience, they are better at making decisions and will probably take less time to get the job done.
On work expectations
There tends to be a contrast when it comes to what people from different age groups expect from their companies. According to the article by Medium.com employees should not tire themselves out from trying to please everyone in terms of benefits. Older workers may be more concerned about their health, whilst younger workers are less concerned. People who are nearing retirement tend to prioritze stability and comfort. Younger workers are more of risk-takers and are willing to jump from one job to another until their expectations are met.
On working styles
Both younger and older employees share the same sentiment about the work from home model. Covid-19 has shown that it is possible to be productive and effective while working from home. And to make it, collaboration is key.
Younger workers now demand for autonomy which breeds a relaxed working environment. And relaxed working environments are often beneficial for productivity. Older employees benefit from relaxed work environments by being able to balance work and home life.