Every company downsizing right now is factoring in the legal and financial benefits of some kind of "package" for employees nearing retirement age. While that approach offers some much-appreciated relief in the decision process, it may not turn out to be the best over the long run.
Older Workers More Engaged. Really.
It's easy to make assumptions based on any type of demographic. And it's certainly easy to figure that the longer someone has been working, the more likely they are to want out. However, a Hewitt Associates study showed that:
1. Older employees were more likely to be engaged in their work than younger ones, with 74% indicating their engagement on the job. That contradicts the belief that many older workers simply want to coast to retirement.
2. The least engaged group was generation X (26 to 40 years old) at 61 per cent.
I'm not suggesting that layoff/retention decisions be made on such statistics alone. I am suggesting that using "age" or "years of service" as overarching drivers for these decisions might come back to haunt employers later.
These choices are difficult under any circumstances. Use the range of information available to make the best-balanced ones.