Perception among Czech citizens of individuals over the age of 50 in regard to work qualifications

The Czech population is aging quickly, and therefore the employment of the elderly is an issue that will soon need to be dealt with more intensively. However, the position of these individuals on the labor market is problematic. This is due to the fact that most employers tend to be convinced that the elderly display low performance, slower work tempo, poorer learning capabilities or worse ability to adapt to change. Those who make efforts to employ the elderly often emphasize their life and work experience, professional skills, or loyalty to the company. However, this problem will begin to concern an increasing number of people. What are the opinions among Czech citizens on the individual aspects of efficiency amongst the elderly?

In 2013, the Institute for Evaluations and Social Analyses (INESAN) carried out a research survey into the preferences and attitudes of Czech citizens on the employment of the elderly over 50 entitled “Attitudes of Czech citizens towards employing individuals over the age of 50”. The sample of the Czech population, which was created via quota sampling in order to represent the adult population, included a total of 1,207 valid personal interviews.

In terms of selected aspects regarding efficiency, language skills were evaluated as being the worst among people over the age of 50, as only 15% of respondents claimed this group possessed such skills. According to 26% of respondents, these individuals are also willing to educate themselves and 32% perceive them as efficient. For these three aspects, respondents were more often unable to decide whether they should choose a negative or positive assessment. The following aspects are those that were seen by respondents as mostly positive: 67% of interviewees assume that people over the age of 50 are willing to pass on their acquired experience, and a similar portion of respondents (66%) claimed that these individuals have good work habits. According to 72% of interviewees, elderly individuals are reliable and the majority of respondents also agree with the fact that they are experienced (82%).

Graph: Characteristics of people over the age of 50 in terms of their work qualifications (%)

The research confirmed the fact that the attitudes of Czech citizens correspond to other presently available conclusions. The worst of all the assessed aspects of people older than 50, i.e. language skills and willingness to be educated, can be improved to a certain degree by training programs. In addition to their standard functions, lifelong learning programs can create the conditions for the perception of continual education as a common part of life and preserve a level of preparedness for ongoing education even in older age. We can also point to the fact that the problem of language skills will decrease into the future, as this issue is partially caused by the lasting effect of previous teaching practices, which at present include the teaching of English much more often than in the past.