An aging workforce: good or bad?
By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance
Came across an interesting piece on the goods-delivering Financial Post blog the other day about an issue we haven’t got a chance to touch on yet in this space.
The paper addresses whether an aging workforce is a gift or curse as the Baby Boomers grow gray and make their way into retirement, if the hallowed ground hasn’t called for them already.
In supporting its stance that older employees are a good thing, the article argues that young people entering the workforce today are “under-equipped professionally” while older workers – though they may be an HR nightmare – are an asset in themselves to serve as mentors for a new batch of company staff.
And, that’s right to a point. Only, where exactly are these new groups of hirees coming from?
Any unionized industry generally deals with lay-offs – and there have been many – in one sweeping manner. Seniority rules and, save for rare exceptions, young workers will be the first to get canned. Performance be damned.
It’s easy to make an argument this is for the best. There’s no substitute for experience, and getting the job done right means, well, getting the job done right. But if a company could have its way (without union interference), which way would it honestly lean if it had to trim some staff?
There are two camps when it comes to aging workers. One of those feels that employees entering their 20th, 25th, 30th year with an employer will remain staunchly loyal, bringing an unparalleled and irreplaceable level of savvy and professionalism to the company.
Or, as the other philosophy states, they’re dead weight. For whatever reason, complacency has kicked in for aging workers and they've resigned themselves to finish out their careers with average commitment and average performance. Just enough to get by. Call it the Matthew McConaughey Way.
Of course, these are pretty radicalized stereotypes. There are just as many aging workers that are still the models of excellence within their companies, just as there are young up-and-comers that are actually well-equipped to carry out business.
But the question remains: from a competitive measure, is an aging workforce a good or a bad thing?
Posted by: Mrs. Katz | May 22, 2021 7:17:36 PM
My 64 year old husband was a CFO. His contract was not renewed because a new president came aboard and the two of them didn't mess. This June will be 1 year of unemployment. He needs to work and misses it. Can anyone out there find him a job.
Posted by: Stephen S | May 26, 2021 9:10:48 AM
We can only hope that an aging workforce is a good thing as CPP & other pension plans worldwide go bust, retiring will become a thing of the past. As for the 'younger workers'. I was a younger worker in 1991 & 2001 trying to raise a family while my co-workers were trying to remodel their cottages kitchens. Do you think I have any sympathy for the pension massacre about to occur? About time too as the Gov't will have to chose between healthcare for all, or pensions for a few. Pity the bloated babyboomers who rode tuition/house price/tax inflation on the backs of the children following them.
Posted by: Larry Kirk | May 31, 2021 2:26:51 PM
Re-instating the 65+ is definitely a good move, if they are still able to do their work.
But, where they want to begin roll-backs in benefits, is from The Top Positions down, and not from the
working person up. Like they always have done before.
- Larry Kirk -