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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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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1728-4457.2010.00331.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Gabriele & Enrico Tundis & Enrico Zaninotto, 2018. "Ageing workforce and productivity: the unintended effects of retirement regulation in Italy," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 35(1), pages 163-182, April.
    2. Anja Deelen & Marloes de Graaf-Zijl & Wiljan van den Berge, 2018. "Labour market effects of job displacement for prime-age and older workers," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-30, December.
    3. Anja Deelen & Marloes de Graaf-Zijl & Wiljan van den Berge, 2018. "Labour market effects of job displacement for prime-age and older workers," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-30, December.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Stephan Humpert, 2012. "Age and Gender Differences in Job Opportunities," Working Paper Series in Economics 235, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    7. van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, K., 2015. "Why Demotion of Older Workers is a No-Go Area for Managers," Other publications TiSEM cef69d5e-bcc2-4082-b9fa-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. 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.
    9. Maciej Lis & Iga Magda, 2014. "Health, productivity, and ageing," IBS Working Papers 2/2014, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    10. van Dalen, Harry & Henkens, K., 2017. "Do Stereotypes about Older Workers Change? : Evidence from a Panel Study among Employers," Other publications TiSEM 53a19b91-96af-4683-8665-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    11. 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.
    12. Mihajlo (Michael) Jakovljevic & Laura Romeu-Gordo & Mira Vukovic & Maja Krstic, 2017. "Gender-Specific Health-Seeking Behavior and Income Status among the Elderly Citizens of Serbia," Eastern European Business and Economics Journal, Eastern European Business and Economics Studies Centre, vol. 3(1), pages 67-86.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Maciej Lis & Iga Magda, 2014. "Dynamika płac w cyklu życia a indywidualny stan zdrowia," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 4, pages 121-142.
    16. 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.
    17. Maciej Lis, 2017. "Productivity based selection to retirement: Evidence from EU-SILC," IBS Working Papers 02/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    18. Nienke Velterop & Jac van der Klink & Sandra Brouwer & Hilbrand Oldenhuis & Louis Polstra, 2020. "Factors Influencing the Ability to Achieve Valued Outcomes among Older Long-Term Unemployed People," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 8(1), pages 203-213.
    19. 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.
    20. Noja Gratiela Georgiana & Caran Margareta, 2015. "Post-Employment Benefits In Romania And Serbia: A Comparative Impact Analysis," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(2), pages 237-246, December.
    21. Schrade, Peter, 2018. "The impact of leadership behaviour factors on work productivity: Measuring the impact of factors of the full range leadership model and the leadership task model," Journal of Applied Leadership and Management, Hochschule Kempten - University of Applied Sciences, Professional School of Business & Technology, vol. 6, pages 66-88.

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