Table of Contents

The Multi-generational and Aging Workforce

The Multi-generational and Aging Workforce

Challenges and Opportunities

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Ronald J. Burke, Cary Cooper and Alexander-Stamatios Antoniou

The workforce is aging as people live longer and healthier lives, and mandatory retirement has become a relic of the past. Though workforces have always contained both younger and older employees the age range today has expanded, and the generational gap has become more distinct. This book advocates the need for talented employees of all ages as a way to prevent potential skill shortages and considers both the challenges and opportunities that these changes raise for individual organizations. The benefits they discuss include greater employee diversity with regards to knowledge, skills experience and perspectives, whilst challenges involve potential generational tensions, stereotypes and age biases. The book further places an emphasis on initiatives to create generation-friendly workplaces; these involve fostering lifelong learning, tackling age stereotypes and biases, employing reverse mentoring where younger employees mentor older employees, and offering older individuals career options including phased retirement, bridge employment and encore careers.

Chapter 2: Unemployment in the digital age

Adrian Furnham

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


It comes as a surprise to many that it is work psychologists who most often study unemployment. They do so predominantly because it is argued that the experience of unemployment tells us a great deal about the nature of work. That is, it is not having work that gives us a considerable understanding of the benefits, and sometimes the drawbacks, of work. The unemployed and the underemployed are deprived of the benefits of work, though it becomes important to differentiate between good/healthy/beneficial work and bad/stressful/unhealthy work. More importantly it is paramount to understand how the world of work is changing and what impact this may have on the next generation. Most types of paid, structured, official work, it is suggested, are good for you. There are multiple benefits of being employed. Work provides a source of income, stimulation and identity as well as social support. Jobs give meaning and a purpose to life and they allow people to discover and exploit their talents. There are clearly good jobs that provide both intrinsic and extrinsic factors and bad jobs that do not. Indeed, it has been suggested that the stress and deprivation associated with a bad job may indeed be worse than having no job at all. There is, of course, something of a tautology in this: good jobs by definition bring benefits and bad jobs do the opposite. The central question is the nature of the mechanism or process that defines good and bad jobs.

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