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Retention of Older Workers Essay

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Many physical changes associated with aging can affect productivity. Those that have been investigated include decreased cardiorespiratory functioning, reduced muscle strength and sensory deterioration. A decrease in cardiorespiratory functioning often leads to increased fatigue, according to a 1995 study. This can reduce productivity in older workers, who may be relegated to more physically demanding tasks if they lack technical skills for more cognitive tasks.
Deterioration of muscular strength has been implicated in the decline in productive work performance of industrial workers who must repeatedly lift heavy objects. Muscular endurance, however, has proven more difficult to assess. A 1991 study found that 80 percent of workers on
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1. Knowledge: Factual procedural knowledge relevant to the performance of one's job appears to remain stable with age.
2. Skills: Physical or cognitive procedures acquired through experience are relevant to the performance of specific jobs and not adequately measured within standard laboratory assessments.
3. Abilities: General physical or cognitive abilities that set limits on the acquisition of knowledge or skills are relevant to functioning in novel situations.
4. Other: Miscellaneous factors affect job performance such as motivation, loyalty and morale.
Research clearly indicates that with age only some abilities tend to decline and the job performance of older workers can remain stable despite deterioration in general physical and/or cognitive abilities.
Where do we go from here?
While most empirical research finds no significant association between age and job performance, older workers do require training and proactive general and physical health interventions to maintain maximum productivity. Replacing negative age-biased stereotypes with factual knowledge derived from empirical research from the fields of physical health, psychology and sociology have led to some effective suggestions and strategies aimed at recruiting and maintaining valuable, experienced and loyal older workers. As baby boomers gray and a "baby bust" sets in on the other end of the age spectrum, older employees will become increasingly more valuable and
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