The benefits of workforce diversity are well documented. Usually, however, these relate to diversity in race, gender and sexuality. There are also benefits in an age-diverse workforce where the different attitudes and skills that come at different life stages can be used to create balanced, ‘superteams’.
In Western developed countries, this is well known and many older people remain in the workforce well into their ‘mature’ years.
In many developing and emerging economies, things are different. Though many countries in this category revere the wisdom and experience of age, the pressure to provide jobs for the growing younger population often drives older workers out of employment.
This has to be resisted if the benefits of experience are to be retained.
This in turn requires governments to implement non-discriminatory legislation and employment policies. But it also requires a change in attitude from the young. They often assume that because older people are often technically illiterate and do not have mobile phones grafted onto their bodies, that they are uninformed and even uneducated.
Similarly, older people should stop seeing the young as ill disciplined and unreliable.
If we can get these different age groups to ‘meet in the middle’, we might create the potential fir mutual respect, greater cooperation and higher productivity,