Aging in the Workforce-Claire Bradley




Despite the perceived notion that older adults lack dependability, productivity, and focus, ample studies have proven that older employees are as fit for the workplace as their younger counterparts. As the number of older adults in the workforce is forecast to increase, it is crucial to understand their importance in the overall functioning of society and recognize their contributing abilities and dedication to their careers.

Article One: Patrickson, M. (2016)

Purpose of Study

The perceived age in which humans are programmed to cease their age of employment has increased significantly due to the rise in current life expectancy. This study conducted by Patrickson (2016), evaluates actions and barriers in which older adults have overcome to remain in today’s competing labor force, as well as common motivations to sustain employment later in life.

            Participants of study. The participants enrolled in this study include individuals after the age of 75 years-old who are still working. Age, gender, educational attainment, the number of hours worked, and type of employment, are accounted for in this study (Patrickson, 2016).

            Methods used in study. The 31 participants interviewed were asked a series of questions about their current job description, how their position was obtained, and their personal perception of the benefits they provide and receive in regards to employment in later adulthood. This method of self-reporting produced information such as actions taken to sustain employability, motivators to continue working, and yielded prosperity (Patrickson, 2016).

           Results and conclusions. In order to keep up with the competing workforce of younger employees, older working adults take further actions to maintain their employability. Efforts such as updating their skill portfolios, networking, increasing and ensuring higher work standards, and maintaining optimal discipline, are some actions that the older participants took pride in. The self-reports noted that many older adults continued working through the age of retirement, mainly for social and psychological benefits (Patrickson, 2016).

Article Two: Cantarella, A., Borella, E., Carretti, B., Kliegel, M., & de Beni, R. (2017).

Purpose of Study

            Working memory undergoes a continuous decline as humans age. Defined as the processes and structures involved in holding information in the mind while simultaneously using the information to make a decision or learn new information, working memory is needed in everyday functioning (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2015). The purpose of the research conducted by Cantarella et al. (2017), was to explore trained working memory in aging adults and how this can lead to increased cognitive functioning and enhanced performance.

            Participants of study. Thirty-six older adults in the 65 to 75 age range, took part in this study. The participants were assigned to either a trained or an active working memory control group. The groups were based on terms of highest obtained education level and age (Cantarella et al., 2017).

            Method used in study. Research conducted by Cantarella et al. (2017), sampled working memory behaviors through a series of tasks. For the purpose of testing criterion, the Categorization Working Memory Task was implemented. Transfer effects were studied with the Everyday Problem Solving Task and the Times Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Task. The reasoning was then evaluated through the use of the Culture Fair Test and the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (Cantarella et al., 2017).

           Variables. For this study, the independent variable was the trained working memory group. This cohort underwent a series of changing tasks and training which resulted in a wide variety of working memory adjustments. Participants who did not undergo any form of working memory training functioned as the control group (Cantarella et al., 2017).

            Results and conclusions. Cantarella et al. (2017) formed the conclusion that consistent daily training of working memory—such as spatial navigation, processing, and reasoning—can foster aging adults’ cognitive abilities and improve their quality of life through everyday living and working.

Article 3: Bertolino, M., Truxillo, D. M., & Fraccaroli, F. (2013)

Purpose of Study

            This study conducted by Bertolino, M., Truxillo, D. M., & Fraccaroli, F. (2013), examines common perceptions centered around older workers in terms of the Big Five Personality Task (FFM) and contextual performances.

            Participants of study. Employees aging from 25 to 61 years of age participated in this study. The majority of participants of which, were women (83.7 percent). Highest educational attainment and time in which participants had first been employed, was taken into account (Bertolino et al., 2013).

            Methods used in study. One-hundred and fifty-five participants, ranging from younger to older adulthood, were randomly given a survey in which they were to examine and rate either a “typical” older or younger employee. Through this use of self-reports, researchers were able to screen employees’ views and opinions on differences in age in the workforce (Bertolino et al., 2013).

           Results and conclusions. The research concluded that older workers were perceived positively in almost all cases. Older working adults were seen as more emotionally stable, thorough with their work, and agreeable (Bertolino et al., 2013).

Article 4: Helyer, R., & Lee, D. (2012)

Purpose of Study

As the workforce becomes more multi-generational, it is crucial to understand the benefits that this might have on workplace environment. This study evaluates the positives and negative connotations of aging in the workplace moving forward into the future (Helyer & Lee, 2012).

            Methods used in study. Through the use of meta-analysis and individual case studies, Helyer, R., & Lee, D. (2012), is able to statistical measure common themes orienting around the shared environment of younger and older workers. The research analyzes the aging workforce, youth unemployment, and graduate employment, to identify the future in experience and job performance (Helyer & Lee, 2012).

            Results and conclusions. The combined workforce of younger and older adults is what makes economies flourish. Helyer, R., & Lee, D (2012) conclude that it is possible to benefit from a combination of both age groups. Variety in skill profiles creates positive results and defines the future of the workplace (Helyer & Lee, 2012).


Not only do these results counteract the stereotype that older adults are unfit for working conditions, but also goes to show that age is only a number. Older adults are at high risk for ageism in the workplace but are also capable and willing to further developed their employability and skills. Older working adults can use the workplace to their advantage to improve and develop their working memory and cognitive abilities. Not only do older working adults bring their competency, long-practiced skills, and dedication to the workplace, they are seen as valuable resources and necessary for workplace diversity.


Bertolino, M., Truxillo, D. M., & Fraccaroli, F. (2013). Age effects on perceived personality andjob performance. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(7-8), 867-885.          doi:10.1108/JMP-07-2013-0222

Cantarella, A., Borella, E., Carretti, B., Kliegel, M., & de Beni, R. (2017). Benefits in tasks related to everyday life competences after a working memory training in older adults. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 32(1), 86-93. doi:10.1002/gps.4448

Cavanaugh, J. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2015). Adult development and aging (7th ed.). Australia: Cengage Learning.

Helyer, R., & Lee, D. (2012). The twenty-first century multiple generation workforce: Overlaps and differences but also challenges and benefits. Education & Training, 54(7), 565-578.doi:10.1108/00400911211265611

Patrickson, M. (2016). Working and employability after 75 in Australia. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 54(2), 188-206. doi:10.1111/1744-7941.12090


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