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A new global study highlights how people perceive age as a barrier to achieving their goals and says businesses need to bring old and young workers together.
Age is a significant barrier to career progression and businesses need to hire at both ends of the age spectrum and to promote collaboration and reverse mentorship among their workforce, according to a global study by LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2020 surveyed over 30,000 respondents in 22 markets globally. It found a strong interest in doing meaningful work and work life balance [about 40 per cent said this was a top priority] while job security is the most import for 38 per cent. For half of the older workers surveyed, keeping their bodies and minds active is the top priority. In Asia Pacific and the UAE, work-life balance is the top priority, while in Europe and North America, pursuing their passions is the most important. In Brazil and Mexico, job security and stability are the most important factors.
Globally, a lack of financial resources (24%), age (21%) and difficult job market (21%) stood out as the top three barriers to success. Age was a higher concern for older workers, with around 45% singling it out as the main barrier to an active lifestyle and pursuing their passions at work. Age was also cited as a barrier in a different way for younger workers (Gen Z), such as a lack of work experience (25%) and confidence (21%) as well as the lack of direction and guidance (13%).
Age as a barrier is the most pronounced in Europe, as well as in Australia and Japan which both have an aging workforce. LinkedIn says this reflects a sense of anxiety in face of uncertain macro-economic outlook coupled with factors like attitudes to age. While working hard (81%) tops the list of what respondents say it takes to get ahead in life, willingness to embrace change (80%) came in a close second.
The report also looks at the need to adopt a multigenerational approach to the workforce. It says businesses need to recognise that the different age groups can complement and help one another, for instance, younger workers may have tech skills that older ones lack, but older workers may have key soft skills and business experience lacking in younger workers. It says: “More companies can be an enabler of change and foster an inclusive workforce to help everyone succeed. Embracing multigenerational workforce will be key to navigating an evolving job market and harness it as a growth driver of today’s economy.”