In a world where youth is valued and anything that isn’t trendy is obsolete, it is welcome news to hear a recent scientific study has proven that older employees bring valuable knowledge to the job.
The findings, which were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, could help employers avoid age discrimination while recruiting new staff. The study revealed that seniors have higher ‘crystallized intelligence,’ which includes verbal ability and knowledge born of experience while their younger counterparts possessed more ‘fluid intelligence,’ which involves the ability to reason.
Lead researcher Rachael Klein, doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota, said, “Given the rising numbers of older employees in the workforce, as well as the rise in age-based discrimination cases, it is increasingly important for employers to be careful regarding which tests of cognitive abilities they administer.” The new report detailed several studies designed to measure the general mental ability of older workers. To measure crystallized cognitive ability, participants were given a vocabulary test.
The researchers found that general mental ability decreased gradually across age groups relative to applicants under age 30, with more marked declines for groups older than 59. Beyond 59, average test scores for the older age groups decreased more rapidly but with respect to crystallized intelligence, older individuals had higher scores on average compared with younger ones.