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Think You Know an Employee’s ‘Age’? Don’t Be So Sure -

Age in the workplace is far more complicated than adding up the number of birthdays an employee has celebrated. Not only is age a measure of how old an employee is, but it’s also a measure of energy, career trajectory, company tenure and more.

That’s according to an August 2012 study by The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. Implications for employers abound.

Overall, employers need to be conscious of different perceptions on age and aim to override traditional age-based assumptions, said Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, director of The Sloan Center and one of the co-authors of the study, “Through a Different Looking Glass: the Prism of Age.

“Not all 50-year-olds are technologically incompetent,” Pitt-Catsouphes said. “But, sure, it’s true that [most] technology came after the baby boomers went through their early adult period.”

Having a greater handle on different definitions of age at work — and knowing how those definitions apply to employees — can help diversity leaders lead and motivate their workforce, Pitt-Catsouphes said. Outside of chronological age — the simplest form, referring to years lived since birth — there are 10 other modes of age in the workplace, according to Sloan.

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