Dealing with age discrimination and age stereotypes at the workplace

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Presentation by Prof. Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen) on the occasion of the EESC LMO conference on Tapping the full potential of diversity in the workplace: culture, …

Presentation by Prof. Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen) on the occasion of the EESC LMO conference on Tapping the full potential of diversity in the workplace: culture, age, gender and disability aspects (Berlin, 21 February 2014)

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  • 1. Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft Dealing with Age Discrimination and Age Stereotypes at the Workplace 21.02.2014 Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha
  • 2. Demographic change and its impact on labor markets Percentage of people 60+ in relation to the 20-59 year olds 2 | Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha © 2014 Universität Tübingen
  • 3. Images of ageing …and how they influence our perceptions
  • 4. Images of ageing • Include social, normative and developmental aspects • Affect communication with and about older adults • Affect well-being and health • Self-fulfilling prophecies Positive: Negative: •Wisdom •Forgetfulness •Experience •Peculiarities •Calmness •Illness •Social competence •Helplessness •Later life as a field of new possibilities and chances •Later Life is defined by depending on others 4 | Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha © 2014 Universität Tübingen
  • 5. Promoting a realistic image of ageing • Plasticity of cognitive development • Simultaneity of developmental gains and losses • Baltes: S-O-C-Model − Selection − Optimisation − Compensation
  • 6. HR-managers images of ageing Attributes (performance parameters) Weight Attribute (performance parameter) is more likely for ... average 126 younger workers 33 older workers 94 Physical power 108 67 41 Mental power 108 56 52 Creativity 108 59 48 Working moral, discipline 143 54 88 Flexibility 130 69 61 Ability to learn 121 76 45 Sense of quality 138 55 83 Theoretical knowledge 110 57 53 Team spirit 118 58 60 Loyality 120 56 64 Readiness to learn 121 69 52 Experiental knowledge Source: Hübner, Kühl & Putzing 2003, S. 130 6 | Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha © 2014 Universität Tübingen
  • 7. Learning motivation of older workers: An interview study (Schmidt 2009) 1. Habitual learning-oriented type: Adult education as a natural part of daily life 2. Utilitarian target-oriented type: Adult education as a purposeful action 3. Barrier-centered type: Adult education as something, that someone is supposed to do 7 | Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha © 2014 Universität Tübingen
  • 8. Conclusions • Age stereotypes at the workplace endangers the potentials of older workers • A realistic image of ageing is needed • HR-Managers not only have to be aware of their own stereotypes but also have to take the strenghts of older workers into account • Older workers with their experience and discipline are an important resource for companies • Like the young ones, older workers are willing to learn if it is related to a concrete vocational perspective • Dealing with age stereotypes means disclosing them, being aware of the competencies and potentials older workers have, and making use of them. 8 | Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha © 2014 Universität Tübingen