This paper aims to
critically explore key factors involved in how employers can best support
career opportunities for all in a diverse workforce. It will begin by examining what the research
papers mean by career opportunity. It will then focus on an age-diverse
workforce and go on to provide an overview of what is known from the current
literature. For the purposes of this study, the term “ageing workforce” is
defined as those aged 40 and over (Bockman and Sirotnik, 2008). In the research literature, there is evidence
that eliminating age discrimination together with stereotypes in the workplace
and providing training and career development are some of the key factors for
supporting an aged workforce. In addition, the possibility of career
opportunities is also essential in ensuring that the labour market and
workforce prepare to meet the demands of an ageing workforce. This essay
identifies different approaches employers can take to support an ageing
workforce in staying in employment rather than taking up early retirement. This
essay argues that there is an urgent need for more career opportunities among
the aged workforce. Furthermore, it highlights how older people are both a
valuable and productive resource to their employers.
One of the
research papers focuses on career opportunities and defines this as a perceived
career opportunity meaning that employees’ perceptions of job opportunities
match their career interests within the organization and that this, in turn, is
related to their career goals. This also suggests that perceptions are not
permanent and may change over time. The argument put forward is that careers
become “boundary-less” and self-directed.
The boundary-less career concept implies that employees now expect their
careers to unfold across multiple employers and work roles and that it is
primarily up to employees to manage their own careers” (Kraimer and Seiber,
2011; Wayne and Liden, 2010).
career route requires that individuals evaluate their career success not just
in terms of promotion and salary but also with regard to their subjective
criteria for career success. It is recognised that organizational support for
development and career opportunities varies and it is for employees to identify
appropriate support and opportunities in order to enhance performance for both
the benefit of the individual and the organization. Findings also suggest that employees who are
motivated to be more self-directing with career goals may also be more inclined
to receive organizational support and development.
defines workforce diversity as the way in which people differ across factors
such as age, gender, race, education, religion, and culture which can influence
an errand or association within an organization. Although Carrell’s definition encompasses a
broad spectrum of factors, this study will focus specifically on ageing
People aged 40 and
over face range of specific barriers related to their age. One of the most
significant hurdles is discrimination based on stereotypes and myths about the
limitation of older workers. One of the papers focused on age discrimination
based on the judgment of the individual’s job performance. In brief, research has demonstrated that
older workers face challenges in the hiring process. Based on meta-analyses over the last two
decades, evidence was found that older workers fared worse in other’s judgment
of their interpersonal skills but better on reliability. To understand age
discrimination in employment, it is worth examining the Human Resources
selection process which normally involves a hiring manager comparing job
applicants to one another during the hiring process. An assumption could be
made that age discrimination during an interview could be based on an
overinflating effect. The majority of
the research on age discrimination focuses on disparate treatment, and the
conclusion is that there is evidence of younger workers being favoured.
(Fisher, Truxillo, Finkelstein, Wallace, 2015). Further study is needed to
better understand what the real consequences of age are on hiring decisions. On
the other hand, when the research looks into age discrimination and performance
it is essential to investigate whatever age–based differences in job
performance do exist. Ng and Feldman
(2008), found that age and core task performance were more related to
supervisor task performance whilst for creativity age was not significantly
related. With reference to performance in training programs, they found it can
be slightly lower compared to younger workers but, on the other hand,
researchers found a positive relationship with safety performance,
organizational citizenship and counterproductive work behaviour. It follows
that older workers are more motivated than younger workers in their contributions to organizations. Also, the
findings would seem to suggest that older workers are good at controlling their
emotions at work. There has been much discussion about discrimination. However,
there is limited evidence in this essay. In some circumstances, lack of
understanding of age discrimination in the workforce may be seen as a barrier
to employers to support career opportunities.
aspect mentioned in the researcher’s literature is reviewing stereotypes of age
and assessing the impact that these have on widespread personnel decisions.
Because aged diversity makes up a significant part of the workforce, one of the
research papers focuses on investigating broadly six common stereotypes about
older workers. The most common stereotype held about an older group of workers
is that they are less motivated, ambitious and exert less effort in their jobs.
This stems from the perception that older people gradually lessen the contributions they make to their organizations,
occupations and employment. In evaluating this stereotype, it was found that
the age was negatively related to motivational variables. Another widely held
stereotype is that older workers are less willing to adjust their behaviour and
less able to change. Some of the research papers focused on studies concerned
with willingness and ability to adapt. They found that his stereotype is
inconsistent with empirical findings; age is not significantly related to
attitude toward organizational changes. A third stereotype is that older
workers are less trusting. Researchers found that older workers are viewed as self-centered,
demanding, annoying and have problems communicating well with others including
being rated lowly by customers in terms of customer service. To assess this
stereotype, they examined trust in co-workers, supervisors and interpersonal
trust in relation to age. Their findings unearthed that fact that the
stereotype of less trust has not even been established
within existing empirical findings. Further to this, they focused on
stereotypes that older workers experience greater problems with health and make
decisions to spend more time within a family domain rather than the work
domain. Thus, observation from this paper saw older people as despondent, sad,
miserable and not in the best health mentally. The meta-analyses in the
research paper suggest that older workers do not have day to day physical
health problems. In part, older workers are more family domain oriented in that
they experience problems balancing their work roles and family roles. There is
a possibility that at the same time satisfaction older workers gain from family
activities might also enrich their work lives. Furthermore, the result of the
research findings reveals that age is very weakly related to family imbalance.
Last but not least, a common age-related stereotype is that older employees are
less eager to participate in training and career development. Hence, there is a
belief that older workers have less capacity to learn new material. However, this may negatively impact on
eagerness to engage in continuously self-development (Ng and Feldman, 2012).
The purpose of this broadly reviewed research paper was to highlight how
stereotyping takes place in managerial decision making about older workers.
Stereotyping may become more prevalent affecting career opportunities for older
employees thereby impacting age diversity. However, further
research is recommended.
Many of those who
are part of a diverse age workforce may wish to make career changes or be going
through a transition period within their careers. To facilitate these
individuals, employers need to support them in the form of training and
Past research has
suggested that companies tend to spend more money on training younger workers
than older workers. The research also suggests that older workers are given
less challenging assignments which provide reduced opportunities for
development (Konrad, Prasad and Pringle, 2006). Moreover, implementing training
and development as part of key business decision and activities is vital. To do
so, it is important that older people with significant skills are given the flexibility
to move to other operations within the
business, to develop their own methods and techniques and be able to respond to
its specific requirements. Also, organizations need to retain skilled older
workers in productive employment and to oversee them efficiently. It is crucial
for organizations to avoid loss of skills and knowledge by managing out the
poor performance of older workers (Beaver and Hutching, 2005). Other authors (Newton, 2006) question the age
and training trends. Also, address
barriers that employers currently deter from providing training facilities for
older workers which are significant in career support. This research paper has focused on three
factors related to training older workers. First, that employers are less
likely to offer the same training opportunities; secondly, that older workers
fail to take up the training opportunities at the same rate as other employees;
lastly, employers offer such opportunities but then do not actually supply
them. In view of these findings, it is essential for employers to address the
age trend in training urgently. It is crucial for employers to provide older
workers with blended learning and to discuss their needs and career
aspirations. A number of means have been suggested in researches papers,
however, for this essay a selection has been presented to focus on the employer’s
role in training and development seen as one of the critical factors for career
Last but not
least, a section of the researchers’ literature used for this paper focused on
older workers working in their retirement years. They argued that conceptualizing
working in retirement is valuable for the relationship between job satisfaction
and working in retirement. Also, having retired from a career and then returned
to it can be seen as a new career stage. Hence, while some older workers are in
retirement stage other older workers may be an early career stage. Existing
research also suggests that often older workers gain fulfilment at retirement
age by focusing on interactions with other people and finding personal meaning.
Motives such as enjoying work and feeling useful are some of the reasons for
continuing work. Those individuals quite often have higher job satisfaction and
are more likely to take up a job for which they are a better fit. (Brown, Pitt-Catsouphes,
McNamara, Besen, 2014). The result of this study suggests that older workers
experience a different sense of career and employers wishing to maximize the
engagement of those employees must acknowledge how to influence their
productivity and experience.
From the critical
review presented above, there is an increasing need for career opportunities in
the diverse aged workforce to be supported by employers. Recent literature
reveals that there are many benefits established from aged diversity including
an increase in higher motivation and stronger contribution to organizations. On
the other hand, the research evidence shows that older workers are more likely
to remain working up to and past retirement age and becoming increasingly
important for organizations.
are also, a number of challenges for older employees and also for employers.
One of the most significant hurdles is age discrimination, based on stereotypes
about the limitation of older workers. Lack of understanding about age
discrimination may limit a proactive approach to career management, training
and development and job performance. With increasing aged diversity in the
labour market, it is essential for employers to continue to support career
opportunities in the diverse workforce in the future.
In line with these
thoughts, this paper proposes a number of strategies and approaches for
employers to implement in the effective management of a diverse workforce. This
essay has revealed that there are sources available to employers in supporting
career opportunities for a diverse workforce. However, further debate is needed
as the question remains an open one.
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