Older employees more productive than young colleagues
Researchers have found that more mature staffers maybe weaker and less agile than their junior colleagues but they more than compensate with their greater experience, ability to work in teams, and success at coping when things go wrong.
"While older workers make more errors, perhaps due to declining physical attributes, they hardly make any severe errors, perhaps due to more experience. It is experience that prevents severe errors, " the `Daily Mail` quoted the German researchers as saying.
In fact, the researchers who studied production linesat Mercedes-Benz truck factory in southern Germany also found that younger, more educated workers were less productive than those who had fewer qualifications — perhaps because the educated workers got bored more easily.
The researchers, from the University of Mannheim, said their findings debunked the idea that older workers should be made redundant to boost productivity.
"In many countries, lower productivity among older workers is used as a motivation for early retirement policies.
If this were true, the ageing populations in many developed countries would have negative effects on overall productivity. These results cast doubt on such beliefs," they said.
The researchers argue that in sectors where physical strength is less important than in manufacturing, such as in the service sector, it is likely that older workers are even more productive.
They also found that a higher proportion of women in the work force is bad for productivity in young teams and good in old teams. They say women make fewer errors, but young male workers get distracted, and are likely to make more errors, if women are in the team.