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“Ageism is alive and kicking in Ireland”

“Ageism is alive and kicking in Ireland”

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the topic of ageism in the workplace to the forefront of our minds. In March 2021, a staggering 59% of young people aged between 15 – 24 years were unemployed. Often in low-income jobs that have been hit heavily by the pandemic, young people have been indirectly pushed out of the labour market. Did you know that age-related discrimination occurs when individuals are mistreated, or cannot access the same opportunities, as other individuals, solely based on their age?  Not only does ageism in the workplace occur for the youth of Ireland, but older workers are often disregarded from employment opportunities as they are seen to be too costly and due to retire soon. By comparison, it is estimated that in the US, bias against older workers alone can cost the US economy up to $850 billion annually.

Ageism in the workplace can take many forms, and often happens when workers are applying and interviewing for new roles. Younger workers may not have the required skills or knowledge to be able to apply for more senior roles, whereas older workers may be seen as ‘too experienced’ and ‘too expensive’ for a role. Often, workers from minority groups face higher levels of ageism in the workplace as they simply cannot afford to change their job.

Ageism in the workplace can affect workers, colleagues and even the wider community. Age-related discrimination is often swept under the carpet and not recognised or identified. Commonly, ageist phrases in the workplace include statements such as ‘You’re ancient!’; ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’; ‘You’re too slow’.  However, high profile legal cases in recent years have highlighted that individuals of all ages can be victims of ageism at the workplace.

Often age-related discrimination occurs when individuals are seeking work but are refused solely on the grounds of their age. In November 2020, two men aged 35 were awarded over €12,000 after being refused entry to An Garda Síochana (Irish Police Force) between 2005 and 2007 based on an upper age limit within the force. Victim Ronald Boyle has pleaded with the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, to abolish this upper age limit of 35 years to ‘bring an end to this ongoing prejudice’.

Ageism in the workplace has the potential to destroy intergenerational camaraderie and peer support within the workplace. Ireland is currently at a pivotal junction and if age-related discrimination is continued to be swept under the carpet and not addressed appropriately workplaces could see increasing amounts of prejudice towards people of all ages.

The LearnGen project is working with partners across Europe to address workplace ageism and create a series of educational tools and resources that can be used by HR professionals, team leaders and managers to promote intergenerational learning and equality in the workplace.

 

Intergenerational learning and inclusion of all people regardless of age at the workplace

Intergenerational learning and inclusion of all people regardless of age at the workplace

We often experience or become aware of age bias.  Such biases exist in all facets of life, including work life.  For example, we may observe employers refusing to invest in the further development and training of employees of a certain age or employer who are reluctant to give work involving decision making to younger employees.  This type of bias leads to the alienation of a significant part of the workforce and their exclusion from learning and training opportunities aiming at increasing their efficiency and the productivity of their employers.

The ERASMUS + European project entitled τίτλο LearnGen: Intergenerational Mentoring and Learning in the Workplace deals with intergenerational learning as a significant tool for inclusion and interaction between younger people (aged between 18 and 30 years old) and older people (aged 50+) at the place of work.  Through the development of this project we aim to inform companies, managers and adult training educators about the benefits of including all employees in the workplace regardless of age to cultivate social cohesion and acceptance of intergenerational differences.

Intergenerational learning is defined as the way in which people of different generations can transfer knowledge to each other. When different generations work together to exchange views, impart knowledge and values, and develop skills through their interaction, it becomes an important aspect of lifelong learning that is significant to all people regardless of age. Through intergenerational learning, mutual understanding and the development of an educational relationship are promoted, while at the same time the generational gap phenomenon is reduced.

How can intergenerational learning be developed? An important way is deliberate and systematic guidance. Most of us are familiar with the concept of a Mentor at work who is usually a more experienced, frequently older person who takes care of a less experienced, often young person to teach him/her some things.  Equally important though is reverse mentoring where the younger person undertakes to teach some knowledge to an older colleague.  Young people, in addition to having the opportunity to learn from the knowledge and experiences of older people, also have a lot to teach respectively, mainly digital skills, technological challenges and literacy on social media.

The LearnGen project aims to develop training materials for organizations, employers and employees so that they can integrate mentoring into their training and human resource development programs and develop the necessary skills that the opposite generation can teach them.

For more articles on the subject of intergenerational learning and post updates about the LearnGen project you can follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/learngeneu/about/?ref=page_internal

Ageism in the workplace in the world and in Czech Republic

Ageism in the workplace in the world and in Czech Republic

What is ageism?

The term ageism was first used by the American psychiatrist Robert Butler in a 1968 Washington Post article in the context of segregated housing policy. In 1975, Butler in his book “Why Survive? Being Old in America “develops the term, and in 1979 “ageism” was first included in “The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.” The original and perhaps most widespread definition of ageism speaks of a process of systematic stereotyping and discrimination of people for their age (Butler 1975). The term is sometimes described by the synonym “age discrimination”.

Let’s zoom in to Europe and the Czech republic. The concept of ageism is gradually entering the Czech professional dictionary too. The first attempt at a comprehensive presentation of the phenomenon of age discrimination in the Czech context is the work of Mgr. Lucie Vidovićová, Ph.D. (2005), who defined ageism as follows:

 “Ageism – Age Discrimination is an ideology based on a shared belief in the qualitative inequalities of the various stages of the human life cycle. It manifests itself through a process of systematic, symbolic and real stereotyping and discrimination of persons and groups on the basis of their chronological age and / or their affiliation to certain generations. “

Ageism in the workplace

Ageism – the stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination against people based on their age – is pervasive and experienced by both younger and older participants in the labour market. Many older workers face ageism when looking for new jobs, training opportunities and career development or are pushed to leave into early retirement in times of economic recession. Ageism in the labour market is prevalent and costly to businesses who do not make the most of the potential of their ageing workforce. At the individual level, ageism has been shown to negatively affect health and well-being and can reduce life expectancy by up to 7.5 years.

Ageism is costly for both employers and employees, and for societies at large. Recently PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimated that if member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) increased the employment rate of those aged over 55 to match that of New Zealand (where it is highest), this could boost total OECD GDP by around USD 3.5 trillion in the long run. (PwC 2018, p. 18.)

Labour market in Czech republic

Perceptions of chronological age play an important role in the labour market. A survey among Czech adults aged 18–80 in 2012 showed that among those who feel that their age is important during their working life (79 per cent of the sample in 2012) the vast majority feels that their age is a critical factor in being hired or dismissed, offered training, a promotion or when salary levels are being decided upon (see graph below).

 

  Zdroj: Vidovićová 2008: 169 (for 2003 & 2007); Survey Ageismus 2012 for data for 2012. Reprezentativní vzorek populace v České republice, věk 18 – 80 let.

World Health Organisation (WHO) call to action

WHO published a global report on ageism in March 2021. The report states that both older and younger adults are often disadvantaged in the workplace and access to specialized training and education decline significantly with age. Ageism against younger people manifests across many areas such as employment, health, housing and politics where younger people’s voices are often denied or dismissed.

The report notes that policies and laws that address ageism, educational activities that enhance empathy and dispel misconceptions, and intergenerational activities that reduce prejudice all help decrease ageism.

All countries and stakeholders are encouraged to use evidence-based strategies, improve data collection and research and work together to build a movement to change how we think, feel and act towards age and ageing, and to advance progress on the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing.

“Ageism towards younger and older people is prevalent, unrecognized, unchallenged and has far-reaching consequences for our economies and societies,” said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “Together, we can prevent this. Join the movement and combat ageism.” 

Author: Jana Kyriakou

Sources:

https://www.ageismus.cz/o-ageismu

https://unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/pau/age/Policy_briefs/ECE-WG1-30.pdf

https://www.who.int/news/item/18-03-2021-ageism-is-a-global-challenge-un

International study of intergenerational family business

International study of intergenerational family business

The first part of a large scientific study, named Intergenerational Family Businesses as a Stress Management Instrument for Entrepreneurs, has been published. It has been compiled by an international academic network created under the INTERGEN project.

The purpose of this publication is to describe the results of an international research under INTERGEN about some attitudes in the students to choose the idea of family business. This psychological background is upgraded with analyses of their business expectations.

The network INTERGEN was launched in 2018; initially it conducted researches among students of 12 universities from 6 countries. The studies’ focus was on entrepreneurial attitudes in intergenerational family businesses. In 2020 more academic centers from Asia and Europe joint the network.

After the pandemic begun, the network went on working by moving into the cyberspace. The first online meetings were accomplished with the participation of scientists from 22 academic institutions from 8 countries of 2 continents – Albania, Bulgaria, Iran, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Uzbekistan.

The network aims to improve the understanding of the role of intergenerational family business for the development of students as entrepreneurs.

The international study, published by Angel Kanchev University of Ruse, Bulgaria, one of the active members of the INTERGEN network, can be read in English and downloaded at http://www.intergen-theory.eu/results.html.

Motion Digital, who we are and our contribution to LearnGen project

Motion Digital, who we are and our contribution to LearnGen project

Motion Digital is a start-up founded in 2019 in Czech Republic, in Prague – the heart of Europe. Our mission is to enrich people’s lives in a sustainable environment through technology, exponential growth, and human development. And our core purpose is to empower lifelong learners to take control of their lives and drive systemic changes which improve the quality of life.

We are proud to embrace our main values of:

  •  Diversity & Inclusion
  •  Responsibility & Sustainability
  •  Growth Mindset
  •  Honesty & Integrity

As part of our mission we are connecting with other organisations and educational institutions in Europe with a similar goal. We work together on international projects with the theme of wellbeing, inclusion and sustainability funded by Erasmus+.

We are a proud partner of a multi-country consortium, working together on a project called LearnGen: Intergenerational Mentoring and Learning in the Workplace. The focus of the project is to address the issues of ageism and social exclusion in the workplace as evidenced by the bias, discrimination and segregation of marginalized workers.  Both older workers as well as young workers need to develop the necessary core skills to teach and learn from each other. According to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), 70% of EU workers need at least moderate digital skills to perform their tasks. These are becoming core skills needed for their employability and career success. This is especially a big issue for older employees (age 55+) who face discimination in employment and access to goods and services (40% of EU citizens believe there is widespread age discrimination in their country according to the 2019 Eurobarometer).

At Motion Digital, we are very excited to embark on this project and the impact that we can make in our community. Our team and our partners will develop and disseminate a curriculum which will be accessed and used by many trainers, HR professionals and other managers. Through this we aspire to help older workers narrow their generational gap and younger workers to improve their skills, in the pursuit of improving intergenerational learning for both groups, empowering them and confidently integrating them in the workplace.

Introducing the project team of CARDET

Introducing the project team of CARDET

Dr Panagiotis Kosmas

Panagiotis is our head of education unit at cardet responsible for 45 of projects related to education. As a senior researcher he has long-standing experience in research and managing european projects. His expertise lies mainly in education, innovation and technology and he has a keen interest in lifelong learning, adult education and proffesional development.

Kiki Kallis

Kiki is our HR manager at CARDET with over 20 years of experience in HR consulting and managing human resource departments.

A strong proponent of social justice and inclusion, she is also project manager on projects dealing with diversity and inclusion and employee wellbeing, topics that are close to her heart and professional interests.

CARDET expertise in similar projects:

With over 350 completed projects, CARDET has vast expertise in the areas of professional development, developing strategies for adult education providers, developing competences. Improving the integration of low-skilled adults, supporting older workers in coping with age transitions and work requirements and improving VET training for young low-skilled learners.  

Some recent indicative project names are: CODE, DIMA 2.0, GenZ, Walk the global walk, Measy, beOld and PROMOVET.

Sample Article

«Διαχείριση Ηλικίας» στο επαγγελματικό πλαίσιο

Δελτίο Τύπου στα πλαίσια του Ευρωπαϊκού Έργου «LearnGen» – διαγενεαλογική ανταλλαγή γνώσεων και δημιουργία ίσων ευκαιριών μάθησης και επαγγελματικής ανέλιξης

Ο όρος «διαχείριση της ηλικίας» (Age Management) αναφέρεται στις προσεγγίσεις που στόχο έχουν να εξοπλίσουν τους οργανισμούς με τις απαραίτητες γνώσεις και δεξιότητες που μπορούν να εφαρμόζουν κατά την προσέλκυση, διαχείριση και διατήρηση των εργαζομένων μεγαλύτερης ηλικίας, επιδιώκοντας πάντα την εκπλήρωση των οργανωσιακών στόχων.  Συγκεκριμένα, η διαχείριση ηλικίας αποτελεί πολυδιάστατη προσέγγιση που στοχεύει να βοηθήσει τους εργοδότες να διαχειριστούν αποτελεσματικά και να αφομοιώσουν τους ώριμους εργαζομένους (50 ετών και άνω) αλλά και το ενδεχόμενο μελλοντικό ώριμο εργατικό δυναμικό που δύναται να προσελκύσουν στον οργανισμό. Περιλαμβάνει διάφορες διαστάσεις  που αφορούν κυρίως την καλύτερη ενημέρωση σχετικά με τη γήρανση και υιοθέτηση ορθών συμπεριφορών, ένταξη της διαχείρισης ηλικίας στις πολιτικές ΔΑΔ, προώθηση της ενεργούς γήρανσης στο χώρο εργασίας, προώθηση της ικανότητας προς εργασία και της παραγωγικότητας, δια βίου μάθηση, επιμερισμό της εργασίας με βάση την ηλικία, την προσαρμογή των υποδομών του οργανισμού και τη δημιουργία ενός χώρου εργασίας χωρίς αποκλεισμούς, για την κάλυψη των ιδιαίτερων αναγκών όλων των γενεών των εργαζομένων.

Η εφαρμογή Στρατηγικών για την λειτουργική διαχείριση των διαφορετικών Ηλικιακών ομάδων στην εργασία είναι υψίστης σημασίας αφού σύμφωνα με τα στατιστικά της ΕΕ  υπάρχει και θα υπάρχει έλλειψη νέου εργατικού δυναμικού λόγω των χαμηλών ποσοστών γονιμότητας. Το ποσοστό των µεγαλύτερων σε ηλικία εργαζόμενων στην ΕΕ αναμένεται να αυξηθεί κατά τις επόμενες δεκαετίες. Οι δημογραφικές τάσεις δείχνουν ότι ο ενεργός πληθυσμός ηλικίας 55-64 ετών θα σημειώσει αύξηση της τάξεως του 16,2% μεταξύ 2010 και 2030. Οι υπόλοιπες ηλικιακές ομάδες παρουσιάζουν πτωτική τάση, από 5,4% (40-54 ετών) έως 14,9% (25-39 ετών). Η αύξηση της γήρανσης του πληθυσμού και η χαμηλή απασχόληση – κυρίως των μεγαλύτερων σε ηλικία εργαζομένων- θεωρούνται ως δύο από τις κύριες διαρθρωτικές αδυναμίες της Ευρώπης. Στο γεγονός της μείωσης της συνεισφοράς των εργαζομένων μεγαλύτερης ηλικίας, συνέβαλαν και οι πολιτικές των κρατών-μελών της ΕΕ, που ανάπτυξαν αμοιβαίο ενδιαφέρον για την προώθηση της πρόωρης συνταξιοδότησης ως γενικό μέσο αντιμετώπισης, που προέκυψε από την πετρελαϊκή κρίση του 1973.

Καθώς ο αριθμός των νέων που εισέρχονται στην αγορά εργασίας ολοένα και περιορίζεται, οι στρατηγικές διαχείρισης ηλικίας είναι υψίστης σημασίας για την παράταση της συνταξιοδότησης, εξασφαλίζοντας παράλληλα μεγαλύτερη και αποδοτικότερη διάρκεια της επαγγελματικής ζωής των ατόμων.

Τα οφέλη που προκύπτουν από την ποικιλομορφία ηλικίας στο χώρο εργασίας είναι πάρα πολλά. Για παράδειγμα, η διατήρηση της ισορροπίας μεταξύ νέων και μεγαλύτερων εργαζομένων, μπορεί να επιφέρει ενίσχυση της παραγωγικότητας και της καινοτομίας καθώς συχνά οι πιο ώριμοι εργαζόμενοι είναι πιο ειδικευμένοι. Επιπρόσθετα, ενισχύεται και η παρακίνηση και η ικανοποίηση από την εργασία τόσο των παλαιοτέρων όσο και των νέων στελεχών, νιώθοντας ότι εργάζονται σε έναν χώρο που διαχειρίζεται όλους τους ανθρώπους ισότιμα, πράγμα που βελτιώνει και την εικόνα του Οργανισμού. Τα παραδείγματα ορθής πρακτικής δείχνουν ότι το κόστος των επενδύσεων για την προαγωγή της ικανότητας προς εργασία υπερκαλύπτεται από το όφελος. Η θετική απόδοση των επενδύσεων βασίζεται στα χαμηλότερα ποσοστά αναρρωτικών αδειών, στα µειωµένα έξοδα όσον αφορά την ανικανότητα προς εργασία και στη βελτίωση της παραγωγικότητας.

Παρά τις πολλές καλές πρακτικές και θετικά παραδείγματα που έχουν επιτυχώς εφαρμοστεί στο χώρο εργασίας, γενικά η διαχείριση της ηλικίας δεν ενσωματώνεται στις πολιτικές ανθρώπινου δυναμικού στους οργανισμούς, ούτε υποστηρίζεται νομικά από τις εθνικές πολιτικές. Η ΕΕ υποστηρίζει και προωθεί την προσέγγιση της διαχείρισης της ηλικίας εδώ και πολλά χρόνια. Ωστόσο, εναπόκειται στο κάθε κράτος-μέλος το να υποστηρίξει και να υιοθετήσει τα απαραίτητα μέτρα. Επιπρόσθετα, κάθε εταιρεία ή οργανισμός έχει τη δυνατότητα να δημιουργήσει τέτοιες Πολιτικές.

Ένας από τους στόχους του Ευρωπαϊκού Έργου LearnGen είναι και η εκπαίδευση μίας ομάδας επαγγελματιών σε Διοικητικές θέσεις, το Τμήμα Ανθρωπίνου Δυναμικού και Σύμβουλους Επαγγελματικής Καθοδήγησης για την ισότιμη  κατανομή επαγγελματικών ευκαιριών για όλες τις ηλικιακές ομάδες εργαζομένων. Μέσα από την ενημέρωση και την ευαισθητοποίηση των προαναφερόμενων επαγγελματικών ομάδων, θα επιτευχθεί μια ολιστική προσπάθεια για αλλαγή κουλτούρας στο ευρύτερο επαγγελματικό πλαίσιο και συνεπώς η δημιουργία προσοδοφόρου εδάφους για την συμπερίληψη όλων των ατόμων στην αγορά εργασίας της Κύπρου ανεξαιρέτως.

Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες σας ενθαρρύνουμε να επισκεφθείτε:

https://www.facebook.com/learngeneu

https://learngen.eu/

Institute of Development, Cyprus    28/05/2021

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Introduction of BRCCI

Introduction of BRCCI

The Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BRCCI) is a private association of companies interested to develop their business in Bulgaria and/or Romania. Our members are mainly Bulgarian and Romanian companies, but dozens of companies around the globe seek our assistance to get to know the two neighboring markets.

One of the most frequently asked questions by potential investors in Bulgaria and Romania is whether there are enough trained specialists in our countries. They are looking not only for digital knowledge and skills, which are largely possessed by the younger generation, but also employees with experience and understanding of the offline environment. We know that the staffing problem is one of the most serious for the local business, and the difference between the generations deepens it. Our experience in the cross-border region shows that employers are looking for staff from the neighboring country, but there are a number of obstacles to labour mobility. That is why we have created the VISA-Cross-Border Labour Mobility Agency, which deals with the main challenges facing cross-border employment between Bulgaria and Romania. We have been actively working on this topic for several years, and we do realize that there are differences in the perception of the two nations, despite the close geographical relationship. To be even more useful, we have licensed a professional training center within the Chamber, where at the request of employers and individual participants, we deliver various trainings – professional, key skills such as communication in a foreign language, communications, digital marketing. These trainings bring together employees of a specific company or people, who want to change their professional qualification at different age, who by the end of the training build intergenerational relationships and manage to exchange experience.

We believe that international business relations become successful when we invest in our future – the children. Our social mission and corporate responsibility is the Bulgarian-Romanian Kids Fund, which provides opportunities for Bulgarian and Romanian children and young people to meet and communicate, to make friends and to overcome cultural barriers. The development of the links between generations and more valuable communication is one of the long-term goals of the Bulgarian-Romanian Children’s Fund.

The European Commission’s support for the production of this website does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Project Number: 2020-1-BG01-KA202-079064
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