Don’t Overlook Older Workers for Digital Dexterity

  • 12 March 2019
  • Blog | Managing People | Blog

Technology in the financial services sector continues to move at pace but older workers aren’t being left behind according to Gartner.

Don’t Overlook Older Workers for Digital Dexterity

As the speed of technological change continues to accelerate, financial services businesses need to harness as much ‘digital dexterity’ in their workforce as possible.

Research and advisory group Gartner defines digitally dexterous employees as those with “the cognitive ability and social practice to leverage and manipulate media, information and technology in unique and highly innovative ways.”

A 2018 survey by Gartner on digital dexterity across the US, Europe and Asia Pacific produced some surprising results. Older workers in their fifties, sixties and seventies were the second most likely adopters of new ways of working, next to those aged between 18 and 24.

“Those aged 55 to 74 have the highest opinion of teamwork, have progressed to a position where there is little routine work, and have the most favourable view of all age groups of internal social networking technology,”

explains Craig Roth, Research Vice President,  Gartner.

Team-based collaboration was ranked highly by 13% of 55 to 74 year olds – the highest percentage across all age groups in the survey. But those in the ‘millennial’ age group of 18 to 34 reported the lowest levels of agreement (between 9.6 and 9.7%) with the statement that work is best accomplished in teams.

Which age group is least likely to adopt new tech? 

There were also surprising results for workers in their thirties and forties. 

“Workers aged 35 to 44 were at the low point of the adoption dip, potentially feeling fatigued with the routines of life as middle age approaches,” Roth says. “They were most likely to report that their jobs are routine, have the dimmest view of how technology can help their work, and are the least interested in mobile work.”

Gartner’s study, which polled 3,125 respondents, found larger organisations on average had higher digital dexterity than smaller ones. 

“Embracing dynamic work styles, devices, work locations and team structures can transform a business and its relationship to its staff,” Roth says. “But digital dexterity doesn't come cheap. It takes investment in workplace design, mobile devices and software, and larger organisations find it easier to make this investment."

By country, organisations exhibiting the highest digital dexterity were those in the US (18.2% of respondents), followed by those in Germany (17.6%) and then the UK (17.1 %). 

Read our feature about managing change in the workforce in Chartered Banker magazine.

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