Stereotypes about older workers prevent companies from benefiting from their knowledge and experience, says LSU researcher
Workers are getting older and within five years 20 percent of the workforce will be more than 55, says the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those figures are likely to collide with deeply held stereotypes about older workers resisting change and not being able to learn new technologies and systems. Dr. Tracey Rizzuto, assistant professor of psychology at Louisiana State University, says stereotypes about aging employees are simply not true.
When the state of Pennsylvania three years ago upgraded its computer systems to streamline and standardize key business processes, Rizzuto wondered how older workers would fare in adapting to the new technology. Concentrating on the state’s purchasing agents’ willingness to learn the new systems as well as their motivation, commitment and satisfaction in accepting the changes, Rizzuto found plenty of reasons to dispel some of the myths about older workers. Of more than 360 people surveyed, nearly 60 percent were 46 or older and ll percent were over 55.
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