Assessing the early effects of the economic crisis on the employment experiences of workers


Jun 29, 2009

A recent study by Boston College's Sloan Center on Aging and Work suggests that younger workers are most affected by the current economic crisis, while older employees are better able to handle this difficult economic time. According to the report, "The Difference a Downturn Can Make," part of the center’s Age and Generations Study, this economic situation has negatively altered perceptions about job security, supervisor support, job quality, inclusion and overall employee engagement in the workplace.

As businesses strive to "get lean" and increase productivity, US workers (like their counterparts worldwide) are reporting that they are overloaded. Employees of all ages reported a decrease in employee engagement, "a measure of how invested and enthusiastic employees are in their work."

Workers in "Generation Y," ages 26 and younger, reported the greatest decrease in engagement, followed by those slightly older workers in "Generation X," ages 27 to 42. Concurrently, the reported levels of engagement for Baby Boomers and "Traditionalists," ages 43 and older, hardly changed at all. Drawing on hard-earned experiences from the past and a time-tested perspective on the ups and downs of the economy, older workers show are more resilient in the face of threatening economic conditions.