Bridging the Gap: Addressing an Aging Workforce

Jensen, Emma, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Rogers, Hannah, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Goyne, Chris, EN-Mech/Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia

This thesis analyzes the growing social dilemma faced in the US workforce: an aging population. With the average age of workers steadily increasing each year, I propose an analysis of how we adapt the workforce to facilitate a seamless transition of knowledge from experienced employees to the new generation of employees entering the workforce. The age structure of an organization can influence how employees interact or the quality of work a company produces. Thus, concern over an aging workforce and employer responses to aging will differ substantially across industries and occupations. In this STS paper, I claim organizations can input practices to address this shift in demographics through a Sociotechnical Construction of Technology (SCOT) framework. These could include increased mentorship culture and postponing retirement through phased retirement systems off the motivation and time for information transfer. Especially in STEM fields where technology and information shifts rapidly, the constant investment in bridging the age gap in the workforce will improve a company's longevity.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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