This article from the United Kingdom caught my eye. Called “Missing Million,” it was put out by Business in the Community, one of the Prince of Wales’ charities.
It talks about older workers (50 year of age and up) and how more than a million of them have been “pushed out of work involuntarily,” thereby wreaking havoc on an impending skills gap that’s already pressing down on the U.K. economy. As the article puts it, “these missing million older workers could potentially boost the U.K. economy by £88 billion, if they were able to stay in work for longer.”
The three-part report “highlights the value of older workers,” it says, “making recommendations to government and responsible employers at a time when there is much discussion and growing business engagement in how we can all collectively support longer working lives.”
It brought to mind a feature I wrote several years ago, When Junior’s in Charge, highlighting the challenges older workers face in corporate America as they find themselves answering to much-younger managers who don’t value their worth.
In that story, I cite a book written by Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Bill Novelli, former CEO of AARP, titled Managing the Older Worker. It highlights just how much U.S. employers are missing out by not recognizing this worth and making better use of this level of skill, knowledge and dedication. (Here’s an excerpt, as published on HREOnline.com, from the book.)
Here, too, is yet more — and much more recent — fuel to add to the fire of the worthy senior worker. This study by PsychTests.com, released Aug. 29, reveals that those in what we’re calling the Greatest Generation — now 70 years of age and older — outscore all their younger counterparts in the top five most-productive work traits: emotional stability, extroversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. In essence, the PsychTests release says, “this 70-plus generation is more pleasant, tolerant, even-keeled and diligent than all the generations to follow.
All this also made me hearken back to Cappelli’s August column on HREOnline™ about the United Kingdom taking the lead on engagement and the importance of HR.
I shared this latest U.K. report with him to see if, indeed, he thinks the United Kingdom might be leading the way again, setting yet another example for employers across the pond when it comes to workforce and talent management.
Interestingly, he told me, it’s “the Asian countries [that] are taking the lead in trying to make better use of older workers, especially Singapore, where they have tight labor markets.”
“In the United States,” he said, “we still have a great deal of prejudice against older workers that probably won’t change until more baby boomers retire and start kicking up a fuss.”
Hats off to the Prince of Wales, at least, for trying to kick up a fuss over this missing and maligned segment of the United Kingdom before it’s too late.Twitter It!