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Productivity of Older Workers: Perceptions of Employers and Employees

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  • Hendrik P. Van Dalen
  • Kène Henkens
  • Joop Schippers

Abstract

What determines the perceived productivity of the older worker and how does this perception compare to the perception of the productivity of the younger worker? In this study we present evidence based on data from Dutch employers and employees. Productivity perceptions are affected by one's age and one's position in the hierarchy. The young favor the young, the old favor the old, and employers value the productivity of workers less than employees do. However, there are also remarkable similarities across employers and employees. By distinguishing the various dimensions that underlie the productivity of younger and older workers, we tested whether soft qualities and abilities-e.g., reliability and commitment-are just as important as hard qualities-cognitive and physically based skills-in the eyes of both employers and employees. It appears that both employers and employees, young and old, view hard skills as far more important than soft skills. Copyright (c) 2010 The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik P. Van Dalen & Kène Henkens & Joop Schippers, 2010. "Productivity of Older Workers: Perceptions of Employers and Employees," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(2), pages 309-330.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:36:y:2010:i:2:p:309-330
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hanna van Solinge & Kène Henkens, 2007. "Involuntary Retirement: The Role of Restrictive Circumstances, Timing, and Social Embeddedness," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 62(5), pages 295-303.
    2. Bloom, David E & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1998. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 419-455, September.
    3. van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, C.J.I.M. & Schippers, J.J., 2009. "Dealing with older workers in Europe : A comparative survey of employers' attitudes and actions," Other publications TiSEM d12ad3e9-29ab-4a83-b61e-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Alison L. Chasteen & Norbert Schwarz & Denise C. Park, 2002. "The Activation of Aging Stereotypes in Younger and Older Adults," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 57(6), pages 540-547.
    5. Rob Euwals & Ruud de Mooij & Daniël van Vuuren, 2009. "Rethinking retirement; from participation towards allocation," CPB Special Publication 80, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    6. Philip E. Taylor & Alan Walker, 1994. "The Ageing Workforce: Employers' Attitudes towards Older People," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 8(4), pages 569-591, December.
    7. Derek D. Headey & Andrew Hodge, 2009. "The Effect of Population Growth on Economic Growth: A Meta-Regression Analysis of the Macroeconomic Literature," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(2), pages 221-248.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Arjan Heyma & Siemen Werff & Aukje Nauta & Guurtje Sloten, 2014. "What Makes Older Job-Seekers Attractive to Employers?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(4), pages 397-414, December.
    2. Hendrik Dalen & Kène Henkens, 2013. "Dilemmas of Downsizing During the Great Recession: Crisis Strategies of European Employers," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 307-329, September.
    3. Maciej Lis & Iga Magda, 2014. "Dynamika płac w cyklu życia a indywidualny stan zdrowia," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 4, pages 121-142.
    4. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Mika Maliranta, 2016. "How does the age structure of worker flows affect firm performance?," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 43-62, August.
    5. Anja Deelen & Marloes de Graaf-Zijl & Wiljan van den Berge, 2014. "Labour market effects of job displacement for prime-age and older workers," CPB Discussion Paper 285, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    6. Frank Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Non-financial Determinants of Retirement: A Literature Review," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 167-191, June.
    7. Berk, Jillian & Weil, David N., 2015. "Old teachers, old ideas, and the effect of population aging on economic growth," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 661-670.
    8. van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, K., 2015. "Why Demotion of Older Workers is a No-Go Area for Managers," Discussion Paper 2015-025, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    9. Maciej Lis, 2017. "Productivity based selection to retirement: Evidence from EU-SILC," IBS Working Papers 02/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    10. Jaap Oude Mulders & Hendrik Dalen & Kène Henkens & Joop Schippers, 2014. "How Likely are Employers to Rehire Older Workers After Mandatory Retirement? A Vignette Study Among Managers," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(4), pages 415-431, December.
    11. Marloes Graaf-Zijl & Albert Horst & Daniel Vuuren & Hugo Erken & Rob Luginbuhl, 2015. "Long-Term Unemployment and the Great Recession in the Netherlands: Economic Mechanisms and Policy Implications," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(4), pages 415-434, December.
    12. repec:eeb:articl:v:3:y:2017:n:1:p:67-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Stephan Humpert, 2012. "Age and Gender Differences in Job Opportunities," Working Paper Series in Economics 235, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    14. Maciej Lis & Iga Magda, 2014. "Health, productivity, and ageing," IBS Working Papers 2/2014, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    15. van Dalen, Harry & Henkens, K., 2017. "Do Stereotypes about Older Workers Change? : Evidence from a Panel Study among Employers," Discussion Paper 2017-028, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    16. Gordo, Laura Romeu & Skirbekk, Vegard, 2013. "Skill demand and the comparative advantage of age: Jobs tasks and earnings from the 1980s to the 2000s in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 61-69.

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