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 12: Meeting the needs of an older population and an aging workforce

Ronald J. Burke

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


This chapter reviews research and writing on age and aging with specific implications for individuals, families, organizations, and societies more generally. Aging is a process of change in biological, psychological and social functioning over time. These types of changes in functioning over time are only weakly linked to chronological age however. The chapter considers the needs of an aging societal population and older workforce, issues faced by older workers, and the implications these raise for individuals, families, workplaces, and societies as a whole. Thus some of the content deals with an aging population that may no longer be in the workforce. The first half of this chapter considers the needs of older women and men in the workforce or aspiring to re-enter the workforce, while the second half looks at issues related to older women and men more generally. It addresses the following topics: new patterns of late-career employment, the sandwich generation, lifestyles and longevity, Alzheimer’s and dementia, special concerns of the aged (e.g., health, safety, functioning in a high-tech world), volunteering activities, a healthy retirement, and new views on aging and age states – the years between 50 and 80.

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