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HUMAN RESOURSE MANAGEMENT DISPOSITION PAPER LONNAI MERICA AGING IN THE WORKPLACE There is good evidence that myths and stereotypes of older people may leave employers unprepared for new realities For essential attributes of productivity no empirical research to date links age and job performance In a 1998 study examining 360 adult ages 20 to 75 on their ability to perform computer-based tasks younger participants were faster but no more accurate in their output Cognitive processing speed which declines with age is regarded as a hallmark of productivity yet a direct association between aging and reduced productivity is unproven The state of current research investigating productivity among older workers suggests that given the right environment and management styles older workers can be just as productive and valuable as younger workers - perhaps even more so The retention of older workers will most likely be crucial in maintaining a competitive edge in the workplace in the current and coming decadesSome 32 million Americans are 65 and older and that figure will double by 2030 In the same year nearly one-third of the total US population will be 55 or older raising the median age from the current 33 years to nearly 42 This coupled with the projected decline of those under age 18 and a meager 1 percent increase in the 19 to 55 age group sets the stage for dramatic societal changes Chief among them are changes in the labor force and there is good evidence that myths and stereotypes of older people may leave employers unprepared for new realities Several reasons underlie the increase of older Americans in the labor force First Americans are becoming healthier Surveys conducted in 1940 and 1950 found that health problems were a primary reason for retirement among men 65 and over But by the mid-1990s only 22 percent of men taking early Social Security options at age 62 did so
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