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Managers in their 50s are at their peak of professional vitality

17 July 2012

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Managers realise their highest levels of professional vitality when in their 50s, a recent study has found.

The research found an inverted U-shaped relationship between age and vitality: the older a manager is, the higher his level of professional vitality is.

It noted that managers reach a peak in professional vitality between the ages of 50 and 59. The age of 57 was the highest point in the sample group; managers' vitality then began to drop.

Professional vitality was found to be positively linked with a manager’s career: the more vitality a manager demonstrates, the higher his organisational status and the less likely he is to consider leaving the firm.

Professional vitality is defined by the researchers as the ability to carry out tasks with passion, vigour and competence, and to gain satisfaction from personal work performance.

“The advantages and disadvantages of taking on mature employees have been widely debated over the past few years. This new study now shows that, in terms of vitality, advancing age plays a significant role,” said Dr Shmuel Grimland, who led the academic research.

The study, which was conducted at the University of Haifa in Israel, set out to examine which factors are related to professional vitality and whether that vitality interrelates with a manager’s career.

Participating in the study were 545 high-tech, engineering and infrastructure managers from the public and the private sectors. They represented the full management spectrum from project managers to senior company managers.

“Our study shows that providing tools for workers to improve their professional vitality will also improve their satisfaction and will help to cultivate resourceful and innovative workers. This indicates that an organisation should make it a priority to provide such tools,” the researchers said.

“Workers’ vitality ‘fuels’ the success of the organisation, and the fact that professional vitality is preserved and actually rises well into one’s 50s indicates that organisations investing in this aspect of the workplace will be able to benefit from productive workers for many years.”

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HR Career development