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 16: Leveraging an aging and multi-generational workforce

Ronald J. Burke

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


Previous chapters have laid out the challenges and opportunities facing organizations, and societies, as a result of both an aging workforce and an increasingly multi-generational workforce. This chapter considers research and writing on how best to leverage these changes into satisfying, effective, productive workplaces (Cappelli and Novelli, 2010; Leibold and Voelpel, 2006; Verworn et al., 2009). It includes initiatives proposed by both researchers and practitioners, examples of government efforts to support an aging workforce, and initiatives suggested by non-profit and academic research organizations, as well as some case studies. Managing an increasingly aging and older workforce will be considered first, followed by content on the multi-generational workforce. This chapter considers the following content: organizational efforts to utilize an aging and more age-diverse workforce, including attracting and retaining older workers, organizational initiatives to utilize strengths and minimize the potential tensions in a multi-generational workforce, government and special interest group actions to bring attention and support to the utilization of older workers and multi-generational workforces, and the presence of consulting organizations specializing in these areas.

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