Date of Award
Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Daniel W. Kemper
James J. Lister
This thesis will focus on the study of how America's companies are beginning to realize what a valuable asset their older employees have become. These people bring years of experience, knowledge , skill and loyalty to the work place. Contrary to stereotypes of older workers being slow, inflexible, unproductive, costly, uncreative and not adaptable , organizations are discovering that these people in general do not fit this "mold."
Throughout history there has been a change in attitudes toward older individuals. During colonial America, age represented authority, power , arrogance and greed. Around the time of the American Revolution, equality among the classes emerged. Established status hierarchies, wealth structures and political authority were drastically altered . By the twentieth century, Americans began to view the older generation as a burden. Mandatory retirement laws were passed in order to make room for young workers .
Today, the work force in the United States is becoming older due to improved life expectancies and declining birthrates. Companies are now considering ways to keep older workers employed by devising programs which are of interest to them.
Some of these programs include phased retirement , job-sharing , flexible working times and places , dependent care and personal growth leaves of absence , temporary or consulting assignments, retraining and upgrading of skills , part-time jobs , dependent and elder care insurance , comprehensive health care insurance , retirement and career planning, redesigned jobs, and, very importantly, recognition of older workers' accomplishments.
Specifically, it is hypothesized that the shift in the work force to larger numbers of older workers and the declining numbers of younger workers has resulted in a need to continue to utilize the knowledge and abilities of the older workers. This, in turn, is resulting in a variety of unique programs designed to meet this need.
This study of thirteen companies supports this hypothesis . Researchers find that it is essential and profitable to utilize older workers due to the predicted shrinking work force which will be countered by a continued increase in life expectancy.
Brown, Marilyn K., "The Importance of Utilizing Older Workers as They Become a More Significant Factor in America's Work Force" (1995). Theses. 457.
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