Older workers most engaged, committed to job: Study

Employees in their 30s least satisfied with career

Older workers are more engaged, committed and satisfied than younger generations, according to a recent study.

Workers aged 40 and older are the most engaged and demonstrate the highest level of organizational commitment, and those 50 years old and older are the most satisfied with their jobs, found the Generations of Talent Study from the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The study gathered data about work experiences from 11,298 individuals, working for seven multinational companies, at 24 work sites in 11 countries.

Employees working in the young-developing countries (such as Brazil, China and Mexico) show higher levels of work engagement and organizational commitment than do those in the old-developed countries (such as Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States).

In contrast, job satisfaction levels are similar on average for employees working in the young-developing countries and in the old-developed countries.

“A higher percentage of employees in the United States are aged 40 and older as compared to those in both old-developed and young-developing countries,” said Natalia Sarkisian, principal investigator. “In both old-developed and young-developing countries, workers in this age group report higher levels of engagement, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction than younger employees.”

Controlling for demographic factors and job characteristics, the study finds that work engagement and organizational commitment levels are greater among employees who are 40 and older than among their younger counterparts.

The study also shows that job satisfaction is highest among employees who are 50 and older, and nearly as high among those who are younger than 30. Employees between the ages of 30 and 39 evidenced the least satisfaction with their jobs.

“Regardless of the complexities of today’s global economy, all companies want employees who are willing to give their very best,” said Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, director of the Sloan Center on Aging & Work. “Contrary to popular opinion, older workers are the most engaged, and forward-thinking companies need to begin strategizing about how to capitalize on this asset.”

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