Sociedad · 24 May 2018

Seniors, a rising workforce

Por cenie
Los séniors, una fuerza laboral en alza - Sociedad, Economía

In any debate on how to address the challenges offered by an aging population, the design of places, products and services plays a fundamental role. We need to ensure that the years we have left to live are full of life and do not become a countdown.

Several investigations have revealed that, although older workers can be compromised in the office environment by the inevitable effects of aging in vision, hearing, posture, memory, balance and dexterity, they tend to compensate cognitively in terms of wisdom, experience and decision making. They are also, contrary to popular myth, flexible students: they have been able to adapt to major changes in both the business and technological paradigms.

Many companies retain these workers because they are incredibly resourceful, in the long term they can offer an expert opinion and can train new employees. In comparison with younger workers, older workers show greater emotional regulation, motivation and job satisfaction. Counterproductive work behaviors, including delays, absenteeism and aggressiveness, are also identified less among older workers compared to younger workers.

Impossible not to remember the film "El Becario", starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, where the character of De Niro embarks on the adventure of being a fellow of a huge online fashion company, becoming essential for his experience and personality and showing that, despite his 70 years, he still had a lot to offer. So, seeing this clear example that age is really just a number, what do we have to do to make a company become age-friendly and take advantage of a rising workforce?


Although retirement reform remains stagnant at political levels, companies are being more proactive in modifying employee exit schemes. There are companies that have installed a phased retirement program, for example, where retirees work part-time, while they get a portion of their retirement funds, so they still earn a full salary and benefits.

Meanwhile, the company avoids having to hire more expensive temporary workers and retains talented employees in areas where skills are scarce. In addition, and whether you develop a mentoring program or simply be creative in managing new roles, fostering communication and collaboration among workers can help your business benefit from its diversity.

Change the ergonomics of the workplace

BMW has made low-cost modifications to workplace ergonomics for older employees by offering, for example, custom footwear and computer screens that are easier to read. Xerox, which recently presented a training program to teach more ergonomic health strategies and raise awareness about the aging process. Thus, it aims to promote an active policy among its workers according to this problem. Companies can help their older employees stay on top by making the workplace more comfortable and adaptable to everyone's needs. Small changes will make a difference in the long run.

Offer training

The training is not only aimed at these workers learn new skills and master new technologies, but also so that supervisors who control employees of different ages know how to do it. The creation of intergenerational teams and the promotion of collaboration can help dilute the age bias. Collectively, this could improve the culture in the workplace, while helping older employees maintain a high level of performance.

Plan to follow

By studying the demographics of the workplace and planning ahead, you can develop policies that meet the needs of your workforce. For example, if there are a large number of employees of retirement age who would like to continue working, then you could consider establishing flexible options that allow workers to make their retirement effective. In addition, this will help establish succession plans for when workers in leadership positions begin to retire.

By implementing some or all of these strategies, employers will have the ability to adapt to an aging workforce around the world that is emerging as the new reality to face in the coming years.


Under the framework of: Programa Operativo Cooperación Transfronteriza España-Portugal
Sponsors: Fundación General de la Universidad de Salamanca Fundación del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas Direção Geral da Saúde - Portugal Universidad del Algarve - Portugal