Challenges and Opportunities
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke, Cary Cooper and Alexander-Stamatios Antoniou
Chapter 1: Managing an aging and multi-generational workforce: challenges and opportunities
Someone once said that the only sure things in life were death and taxes. We can now add two more sure things – an aging workforce and an increasingly multi-generational workforce. This chapter reviews factors contributing to, and the effects of, an increasingly aging and multigenerational workforce on individuals, families, organizations and societies. It sets the stage for the chapters that follow, which address these in significantly more detail. There has always been age diversity in the workplace, but age diversity is greater today. There have always been several generations in the workplace, but generations were more similar to each other in their work attitudes, work values and life experiences in the past than they are today. The first half of this chapter examines the aging workforce, and the second half reviews the multi-generational workforce. It considers the following content: why the population and workforce are aging, potential benefits and risks of an aging workforce, age and job performance and work outcomes, managing an increasingly aging workforce, definitions and characteristics of four generations in the workplace (Veterans, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Y/Millennials), potential benefits and concerns of a multi-generational workforce, actual versus perceived generational differences, and managing a multi-generational workforce.