Study: Highest work vitality comes at ages 50-59

University of Haifa study dispels belief that older white collar employees are less productive.

Workers in an office 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock)
Workers in an office 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
Policies that grant preference to young employees and send older ones to early retirement are misguided, according to a study conducted by University of Haifa researchers. The age when white collar workers show their “highest level of professional vitality” is between 50 and 60, they found.
Age and experience have a significant impact, said Dr. Shmuel Grimland and Prof. Eran Vigoda- Gadot of the University of Haifa and Prof. Yehuda Baruch of the Rouen Business School in France.
The team, headed by Grimland – who wrote his doctoral thesis on the basis of the study – queried 545 company managers from both the private and public sectors, in the fields of hi-tech, engineering and infrastructure. The managers came from all levels, from the bottom to the most senior.
The study found that as vitality in work rises, so does an individual’s ability to use personal resources to succeed and their devotion to the institution. They also found a connection between vitality at work and the organizational level: the more vitality an employee has, the higher his status in the organization.
There was also a positive link between professional vitality and career satisfaction on the one hand and life in general on the other, according to the study. The more professional vitality the employee has, the less he is willing to leave the workplace.
The research team then investigated the connection between age and vitality, with the results forming an upside down U shape. The highest level of vitality and motivation was between the ages of 50 and 59, they said, with 57 as the most vital individual age. After that decade, vitality began to decline.
“Our research shows that giving employees tools to improve their vitality at work will significantly raise their satisfaction and help create creativity and innovation among them. These should be a high priority for organizations and companies,” the researchers said.
“One could say that vitality at work is preserved as people work, and even rises through their late 50s – serving as fuel for the success of the whole organization. It shows that organizations that invest in this will benefit from workers with high levels of productivity over many years,” the study concluded.