Where's the Passion for Work? It's in Workers Over 55!

Major New Survey of the American Workforce Shows:

* Inspired 'mature' workers: the most engaged and willing to put forth

extra effort;

* Dissatisfied 'young' workers: burned out, looking to make a change;

* 'Mid-career' workers: toiling more and enjoying it less

Feb 08, 2005, 00:00 ET from Age Wave

    CHICAGO, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Mature workers 55 and over are more likely
 to say their organization inspires the best in them than are younger workers
 (18-34 years old) by a margin of 43 to 28 percent.  This could help to explain
 why a higher number of mature workers (53 percent) say they are willing to put
 forth more effort than their young colleagues (43 percent).  Both findings
 come from a just-released nationwide survey of 7,718 American workers aged 18
 and over.
     The "New Employer/Employee Equation Survey" was conducted by Harris
 Interactive, Inc. for Age Wave, an independent think tank that counsels
 business and government on issues impacting the aging society, and for The
 Concours Group, a global consultancy to senior executives. It was sponsored by
 24 leading corporations.
     "Companies have to wake up to the fact that their young workers -- their
 managers and skilled professionals of tomorrow -- are the most dissatisfied
 and least engaged workers today," said Tamara Erickson, executive officer of
 the Concours Group. "At the same time, workers approaching retirement are the
 most energetic, focused and loyal. The question companies need to answer as we
 approach a skilled labor shortage is, 'How do we better engage the younger
 workers while retaining the older workers, or at least postponing their
 retirement?' "
     The study indicates a large gap by age group in workers who describe
 themselves as "extremely satisfied." 19 percent of mature workers are
 extremely satisfied vs. only 11 percent of mid-career workers and only 9
 percent of young workers. While 68 percent of mature workers have some level
 of satisfaction with their jobs, that number drops to 57 percent for mid-
 career workers and down to 55 percent for young workers
     "Across the board it's fairly startling to us that the stereotype we
 normally attribute to youth -- energetic, passionate, inspired -- actually
 fits better with today's older workers," Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D. of Age Wave,
 said. "A surprisingly large percentage of young workers -- our future business
 leaders -- are going through a work/life crisis and their employers don't seem
 to be paying much attention.  At the same time, many older workers who are
 extremely loyal and productive are being sent out to pasture.  And in the
 middle, tens of millions of boomers are overwhelmed by their family pressures
 and are struggling to re-ignite their careers."
     Longevity equates with engagement. 64 percent of mature workers say they
 really care about their organization vs. only 55 percent of mid-career workers
 and 47 percent of young workers.
     "Helping to explain the prevalence in the more negative sentiments among
 younger workers is the study's finding that 47 percent of them are coping with
 feelings of burnout and 35 percent are feeling at a dead end in their current
 jobs," said Ken Dychtwald. "The findings are similarly high for mid-career
 workers but plummet to only 28 percent of mature workers coping with burnout
 and only 19 percent feeling at a dead end."
     Young workers are more stressed outside of work with 20 percent saying
 that they are overwhelmed with responsibility versus 14 percent of mid-career
 workers and 11 percent of mature workers. 70 percent of young workers are
 struggling through financial issues and 25 percent are struggling with
 relationship issues.
     "Over the years we've asked more and more of the American worker," said
 Tamara Erickson. "Employers have passed a line, in the minds of younger
 workers, and have somehow broken the employer/employee contract. If employers
 don't figure out a new contract and how to reengage their human capital, the
 best will simply walk away."
     The pool of young workers is more ethnically and racially diverse than its
 elders. The diverse workforce population increased from 12 percent of mature
 workers, to 24 percent of mid-career workers, and to 49 percent of young
     Some of the study's major conclusions by age group are:
     Young Workers (18 - 34 years of age)
     The youngest segment of the work force is the least satisfied and least
 engaged segment of the workforce. They are struggling both in the work place
 and at home more than employers might imagine. Young workers are actively
 looking to make a job change and are the most personally and professionally
 mobile to do so.
     Mid-Career Workers (35 - 54 years of age)
     Workers with ten years of service under their belts say they are working
 more and enjoying it less. They are the age group that is most dissatisfied
 with management and their organization's management climate. Their work
 responsibilities are peaking at the very same time as home life
     Mature Workers (55+ years of age)
     By far the most satisfied and engaged segment of the workforce. Mature
 workers identify with their organizations and share similar values. They are
 inspired and passionate about their work. Mature workers want to work, but on
 their terms and not in place-holder jobs.
     About Age Wave
     Under the leadership of Founder Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Age Wave guides Fortune
 500 companies and governments in product/service development for boomers and
 mature adults.  http://www.agewave.com
     About The Concours Group
     The Concours Group works with senior executives at more than 300 of the
 Global 1000 to master critical issues in management and to turn human capital
 and technological potential into business value.
     About Harris Interactive
     Harris Interactive Inc., the 15th largest and fastest-growing market
 research firm in the world, is a Rochester, N.Y.-based global research company
 that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods
 of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll and for
 pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts
 proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material
 and enduring results. http://www.harrisinteractive.com
     NOTE TO EDITORS: To obtain the full results of The New Employer/ Employee
 Equation or to schedule an interview with Ken Dychtwald, Tamara Erickson or
 Bob Morison, please contact Jim Prendergast at The Dilenschneider Group,
 312/553-0700 (JPrendergast@dgi-chicago.com).