In the rapidly evolving world of technology, which influences so much of our lives now, we tend to equate innovation with youth. But creativity isn’t the sole preserve of the young in any field — and there is no reason why older people should not be playing more of a role in designing the future.
Millennials still think that older workers are slower at getting to grips with technology
Over 50s are often considered to be resistant to change and even ‘technophobic’. But this is nothing more than a stereotype that is past its sell-by date, according to a new study by Dropbox and market research firm Ipsos Mori. The two companies surveyed 4073 workers about their use of technology in the workplace. Of these, 984 were aged between 45 and 54 and 1337 of the survey group were 55+.
The results are not what many would expect. Older workers use, on average, 4.9 different types of technology per week – against an overall average of 4.7, and they also found using technology in the workplace less stressful than their younger counterparts. Only 24 percent of the 55+ age group said they found technology at work stressful, compared to 30 per cent of 18–34-year-olds.
59 percent of 18–34-year-olds believe this to be the case against 38 percent of 55+-year-olds. “In today’s social age there is a desperate need for technical ability and business experience to come together,” explains Mark McCallum, Country Manager at Orange Business Services in South Africa. The number of young people in South Africa’s working-age population increased from 18,3 million in 2008 to 19,5 million in 2014. Over this period, the n
umber of employed youth declined by 467 000 to 6 million, while the number of unemployed increased by 319 000 to 3,4 million. The figures still show that there is a huge number of millennials entering the workforce and the older generation are experiencing tough competition.
According to the Cisco/ICC research, workers want greater dialogue on the digitalization of their organization and the digital workspace. A startling 40 per cent stated that the digital technology being rolled out in their organization wasn’t explained effectively and 57 per cent said they would like more information on how to use the new technology being deployed.
Leadership also came under fire in the communication strategy. Just under of a third (29 per cent) of respondents stated that they thought the leadership team was struggling to push through new digital ways of working and that their organization is not ‘culturally ready’ to embrace digital solutions.
Enterprises cannot rely on a workforce to bring their personal expertise to the digital workspace. “Social media-savvy millennials may not be the solution to help them face digital disruption and transformation,” explains Professor Yates.