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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.

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, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:36:y:2010:i:2:p:309-330
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2010.00331.x
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