Back in 1970 in Latin America the life expectancy was 60 years. Today the figure rises to around 78. In fifty-two years – a blink of an eye in the history of humanity – life expectancy has been extended by approximately 30%. Very much. This demographic transition is one of the most significant changes of our era.
The cultural concept of lag refers to how when a drastic physical-social change occurs, culture takes a long time to incorporate it. The way we assign ourselves roles, permissions, spaces and activities, did not incorporate that 30% of life that we quickly achieved. Our mental frames still correspond to that world of shorter lives.
Ageism –discrimination based on stereotypes based on age– is the third form of discrimination after machismo and racism, ageist biases that indicate that being young is fun, interesting or cool while getting older is becoming boring. sad or less vibrant, they are so naturalized that we often do not recognize them in others or in ourselves.
Corporations are an expression of the society in which they are immersed: one that is just assimilating the growth in life expectancy and where age discrimination is beginning to become visible. That is why it is not surprising how in most companies (there are promising exceptions) still, young people are often thought of as agile and innovative and older people as static and conservative, as non-digital beings who are going to put “spokes in the wheel”. although this dichotomy is false.
Why is it key to think about management with an age perspective? There is no diversity and inclusion possible if the 45+ do not participate in the business field. Incorporating the age perspective, or Age Management, means not only hiring and retaining people over the age of 45, but ensuring that all generations feel fulfilled having access to the same opportunities for development, exposure, learning and growth throughout their lives. His trajectory is to generate a positive impact serving the interests of the company and those of the community.
Companies that incorporate 45+ are better prepared for the world to come: demographic aging is transforming businesses and economies. An organization that only hires young people will be disconnected from its environment, diminishing its chances of being relevant.
Age Management offers the possibility of being an agent of change, discovering real spaces for inclusion and demonstrating that it has a greater purpose than (only) generating benefits. In a context where pension systems will not be enough and everyone will need to work more, a company that includes senior collaborators will contribute to a more sustainable society.
Generating a diverse and inclusive culture from an age perspective promotes greater general well-being and allows young collaborators to have models in which to project themselves into the future in a positive way.
Intergenerationality increases innovation: the richness that arises when the perspectives, ideas and capacities of people of different ages intersect, resulting in teams with a greater capacity to solve challenges and a breadth of vision. Generationally diverse teams foster training, knowledge transfer, and leadership development.
Age is not a determining factor for performing a task. Age is one more piece of information about a person and is combined with other factors, skills and abilities. The invitation is then not to use age as an exclusion criterion, but as one of positive integration, which when it implies a real difference can be used to enrich the collaborator and the group.
I prefer to open questions and not close with answers: What roles, permissions, challenges, spaces and activities today in your organization are accessed or not according to the years you have? When you put together work teams, do you assume that the bosses are greater than the subordinates? If the answer is yes, why? When you think of an entry level position, do you think of someone young? Or do you think someone 45+ might be a good fit? When you think of someone 45+, do you assume they have seniority? Why? From management, is the age exchange encouraged? What other questions would you add to these?
*Director of the Executive Program of Age Management at the CEMA University.
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