Older Workers Underappreciated in Workplace

New Randstad survey surfaces generational gap among workers

Apr 26, 2006, 01:00 ET from Randstad

    ATLANTA, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Is the workplace a fountain of youth
 for older workers or is it a necessary means to supplement meager
 retirement funds? According to a survey released today by Randstad USA, a
 leading workforce solutions company, 91 percent of employed U.S. adults
 said they have not saved enough money for a comfortable retirement, and 40
 percent expect to continue working after retiring from full-time work.
     With Americans continuing to work past historical retirement age, the
 survey shows some possible compatibility issues with younger workers that
 employers need to be prepared to appropriately address. Three-quarters of
 experienced workers (ages 55 years and older) said they relate well to
 younger co-workers. However, only 56 percent of all employees surveyed said
 they relate well to older workers. In fact, a total of 77 percent said
 younger employees do not seek advice and guidance from employees over age
 50. Furthermore, only 20 percent of workers believe their older co-workers
 energize them and bring new ideas to the table.
     "Despite this disparity, the multi-generational workplace is mutually
 advantageous for employees and employers alike," said Genia Spencer,
 managing director of operations and human resources for Randstad USA. "Many
 of the advantages may not be readily apparent to the nation's employers who
 can benefit from the synergy of ideas and insight that younger and older
 workers jointly bring to the table."
     While 90 percent of employed U.S. adults surveyed stated people over
 age 50 are "with-the-times," 70 percent actually think their company does
 not value older workers. Many older workers, on the other hand, think their
 companies are impartial to employees' ages. In fact, more than half of
 employed adults ages 55 and older agree that their company treats employees
 of all ages fairly (58 percent) and that their company values employees
 over age 50 (54 percent). That is a good thing, considering one-fifth (20
 percent) of employed adults said they are older than their boss.
     The following table outlines varying perspectives of how the oldest and
 youngest workers surveyed view each other in the workplace:
     Oldest Workers' Viewpoint              Youngest Workers' Viewpoint
      (age 55+)                              (ages 18-34)
     75 percent said they relate well       54 percent said they relate
      to younger co-workers                  well to older workers
     43 percent said they learn from        64 percent said they learn
      younger co-workers                     from their older co-workers
     54 percent said their company          25 percent said their company
      values employees over age 50           values employees over age 50
     42 percent said their younger co-      23 percent said their older
      workers energize them and bring        co-workers energize them and
      new ideas to the table                 bring new ideas to the table
     32 percent agreed that younger         22 percent agreed that
      employees seek advice and              younger employees seek
      guidance from employees over           advice and guidance from
      age 50                                 employees over age 50
     Spencer offers the "ABCs" of how to bridge the generation gap among
     - Avoid any age-based assumptions about employees and recognize that all
       of your colleagues will potentially bring different and insightful ideas
       to the table.
     - Be open-minded to learning new ways of doing things and be receptive to
       time-tested ideas.
     - Create an environment where all employees have a meaningful opportunity
       to contribute.  By fostering effective communication and collaboration
       with all of your colleagues, you may be surprised how many good ideas
     More than 1,400 U.S. employed adults were surveyed online by Harris
 Interactive(R) for Randstad's survey on older workers. Throughout 2006,
 Randstad is commissioning Job Bites surveys on relevant and provocative
 workplace trends.
     Survey Methodology
     Harris Interactive(R) fielded the study on behalf of Randstad USA
 between February 17 and 21, 2006, via its QuickQuery(SM) online omnibus,
 interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,318 U.S. adults age 18 and older,
 among whom 1,444 were employed. Data was weighted to reflect the total U.S.
 adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education,
 household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. In theory,
 with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent
 certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3
 percentage points and the employee results have a sampling error of plus or
 minus 4 percentage points. Sampling error for employed U.S. adults ages 18
 to 34 (526) and for employed U.S. adults age 55 and older (243) is higher
 and varies. This online sample is not a probability sample.
     About Randstad USA
     Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Randstad USA is a wholly owned
 subsidiary of Randstad Holding nv, an $8.25 billion global provider of
 professional employment services and the fourth largest staffing
 organization in the world. In 2005, Randstad USA's 1,900 staffing
 professionals put 48,500 people to work in the U.S. each week through its
 419 branches and client-dedicated locations. Randstad fulfills temporary,
 temp-to-hire and direct hire opportunities in Office, Executive Office,
 Industrial, Call Center, Finance & Accounting, and Technical and Creative.
 Randstad provides skills assessments, career counseling, training, health
 coverage, paid vacation and 401(k) matching contributions to eligible
 internal and external employees. More information is available at the
 company's Web site, www.us.randstad.com. Investment information is
 available at www.randstad.com.
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), based in
 Rochester, N.Y., is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market
 research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and
 for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long
 recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident
 business decisions, the Company blends the science of innovative research
 with the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to
 measurable and enduring value. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide
 through its United States, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and
 Asia offices, its wholly owned subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France
 (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate
 market research companies.

SOURCE Randstad