International Challenges and Perspectives
Edited by Jeffrey A. Raffel, Peter Leisink and Anthony E. Middlebrooks
14. Leadership diversity in an ageing workforce Kathleen Vanmullem and Annie Hondeghem INTRODUCTION As the population and workforce are ageing, so the average age of civil servants is increasing. Furthermore the public sector generally has an older demographic profile than the private sector (OECD 2006a). A demographic analysis of the Flemish government clearly illustrates the ageing of the workforce. One out of two civil servants is over 45 and one out of five is over 55. Many civil servants retire before the age of 65, as it is possible to retire at 60. As a result, approximately one in five older, experienced civil servants will leave the Flemish government in the next five years. It will not only be difficult to replace these persons but it will also lead to a huge outflow of knowledge and experience. The labor shortage will force public and private organizations to keep their older workers active as long as possible. Another consequence and challenge is the multigenerational workforce. Different generations work together but each generation has specific needs and capabilities (Riccucci 2002). Leading an ageing workforce has become an urgent challenge for human resource management (HRM) within organizations. New policies are needed to attract workers and to motivate them to work longer (OECD 2006b). Several models have been formulated to manage an ageing workforce. In each of these models an essential role is placed upon leadership (Vanmullem and Hondeghem 2005; Leisink et al. 2004; Ilmarinen 2001; Walker and Taylor 1998). Leadership has to deal...
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