Older workers do not necessarily perform worse

Feb 12, 2010
Older workers do not necessarily perform worse

Do older staff members earn more than they deserve? Dutch research carried out into productivity and incomes among older workers by labour economist Jan van Ours (Tilburg University) shows that the difference in performance between older and younger employees is negligible.

It is generally thought that most employees reach their peak at some time between the ages of forty and fifty. After that, their gradually declines.

According to Professor Jan van Ours, this decline in performance was always assumed to be so self-evident that no one carried out research to find out if it was actually the case. In fact, he himself decided to undertake research into a group of runners and discovered that physical performance begins to decline from around the age of forty. But when he investigated whether older economists also publish less in scientific journals, he discovered that there was no noticeable fall-off in productivity. Van Ours also found that older employees in manufacturing tend to produce a little less than they are actually paid for. For younger workers, the opposite is true.

Van Ours’ research confirms that productivity rates for physically demanding work in particular decline somewhat with age, but for work of a more intellectual nature, age does not matter much. Generally, earn a little more relative to the level at which they perform, but this difference is negligible says Van Ours. The biggest problem, to which Van Ours thinks a solution should be found, is that older workers find it difficult to get another job if they find themselves out of work.

Explore further: Knowledgeable consumers more likely to buy when given fewer options

Provided by Tilburg University

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Older workers stress less, U-M study suggests

Nov 19, 2007

Older workers generally report low levels of work-related stress, according to a University of Michigan study of a nationally representative sample of older workers.

Older workforce requires variety of recruitment strategies

Jul 08, 2008

Employers globally are facing challenges and needs posed by baby-boom generation employees. A new Penn State study of 208 U.S. employers found a wide range of strategies used to recruit and retain older workers, rather than ...

Older workers spend less on necessities and health care

Oct 21, 2009

More older Americans are choosing to continue to work or are returning to the labor force. The number of workers age 65 and older is predicted to increase by more than 80 percent by 2016. In an ongoing study, ...

Recommended for you

Perthites wanted for study on the Aussie lingo

6 hours ago

We all know that Australians speak English differently from the way it's spoken in the UK or the US, and many of us are aware that Perth people have a slightly different version of the language from, say, Melbournians - but ...

P90X? Why consumers choose high-effort products

23 hours ago

Stuck in traffic? On hold for what seems like an eternity? Consumers often face situations that undermine their feelings of control. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, when a person's sense of con ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Roj
not rated yet Feb 12, 2010
The biggest problem, to which Van Ours thinks a solution should be found, is that older workers find it difficult to get another job if they find themselves out of work.


The lack of mature mentors may also be one "canary in the coal mine" for industry success in labor exploit.