Learning and Training for Older Workers

Managing the Ageing Workforce in the East and the West

ISBN: 978-1-78714-639-6, eISBN: 978-1-78714-638-9

Publication date: 7 November 2017


Older workers represent an increasingly important source of labour for organisations. Irrespective of age, a worker needs the appropriate skills and knowledge to be productive and to help the organisation achieve its strategic objectives. However, in many organisations, older workers are less likely to be offered training opportunities than their younger compatriots. This is due, in part, to negative stereotypical assumptions about older workers by managers. Learning and training are influenced by an individual’s career span and motivation. As a person ages, their work-related needs will change. There is a shift from growing and developing their career to a focus on security, maintenance, emotional satisfaction and mastery. Cognitive change takes place during a person’s life, and a gradual decline in primary mental abilities can be expected, but the notions of general decline are simplistic and misleading. A person is able to learn at any age and the older worker is capable of adjusting to changes in work. Many people assume that older workers are homogeneous but this is not the case. There are significant differences between older workers and these differences need to be acknowledged and understood. The organisational culture will affect learning and training opportunities for older workers, as will the attitudes of managers to older employees. Learning and training for older workers will also be influenced by the national culture and, in this chapter, selected Asian countries are discussed. The chapter concludes by offering recommendations regarding learning and training for older workers in organisations.



Davies, E., Hanley, K., Jenkins, A. and Chan, C. (2017), "Learning and Training for Older Workers", Flynn, M., Li, Y. and Chiva, A. (Ed.) Managing the Ageing Workforce in the East and the West (The Changing Context of Managing People), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 185-206. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-638-920171009

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