Attitudes Toward Workers of Different Career Stages–Displacement Trends—State Issue Brief
by Elyssa Besen and Tay McNamara
July 2009—Attitudes toward Workers of Different Career Stages assesses the current level of awareness and understanding of demographic changes found in state agencies. Drawing on data from the States as Employers-of-Choice project, this publication is designed to contribute to planning for possible action steps.
Analyzing the attitudes toward workers of different career stages, and particularly those toward older workers, we make comparisons between the public and private sectors.
Our study shows that older employees tend to be viewed by many employers as more loyal to company, and willing to take up a leadership role. But they are also more “resistant to change” and “burned out.” Younger employees, however, were seen as more willing to try new technologies and adapt. However, they were more likely to look outside the company for new career opportunities.
There were many similarities in the attitudes of the public and private sectors. Yet when analyzing the perceptions of late-career employees, a larger percentage of public-sector organizations reported positive attributes and a smaller percentage reported negative attributes than in the private-sector.
Overall, the state agencies surveyed reported more positive attitudes towards employees than the private sector, which could be an important advantage for recruiting and retaining employees. However, the private sector late- and mid-career were found to be more eager to enter into leadership and supervisory roles.