SeniorLab, Citilab’s living lab for senior innovation developed together with ValueCreation, closed in December 2010 the project 55+. The goal: identify digital profiles for workers and preretired aged over 55 years using a living lab test mode. In the project’s second part these profiles have been tested on five real cases that have led to:
New real digital jobs for workers aged over 55 years
Six realistic occupational profiles seniors with their training paths
A real technological innovation experience (a digital caregivers platform) based on one of the developed profiles
A methodology that produces real jobs
Identification (very conservative) of senior real job markets
It has been a complex project that had to integrate and coordinate diverse experiences and teams under the issue of digital employment for workers over 55 years. It has certainly contributed to a better understanding of the challenges digital strategies for job placement for workers over 55 years faces.
A million of wasted talents
First, the data indicate that there is a lot of untapped talent in Spain: 300,000 unemployed over 55 and about 750,000 preretired workers. A total of one million people with an average working life of 30 years.
On the other hand, the current Social Security system does sustain the early retirement as a strategy for reducing business costs. This fact implies that either unemployment will rise further in those over 50 or 55 years or companies must find ways to take advantage of the talent that they do not employ.
Only 18% of the companies are prepared for demographic change
However, only 18% of companies are prepared fordemographic change and only another 18% have experienced with knowledge transfer systems. There is a strong tension between the need for companies to reduce their staff and the damage suffered due to the loss of knowledge and corporate culture. This tension is not resolved and will increase with time.
The problem will worsen when the Spanish pensioners begin to follow the European trend to seek an occupation (not necessarily in the profession or industry the y had been working at) for post-retirement age. Extrapolating from a very conservative European trends, from 2015 on, perhaps over 2.5 million retirees will demand some kind of professional like occupation.
On the other hand, human resource professionals, public service employment and the elderly themselves agree that innovation is the natural field for people with experience.
Other fields in which there is consistencya common perception is the professionalization of the third sector, training, health and employment related to dependence and active ageing.
The quantitative survey conducted among HR professionals supports these trends, except in relation to innovation. HR managers see it as a natural in interviews and focus groups, but do not the identify innovation as a trend in the quantitative survey. However, the survey identifies a number of activities indirectly related to innovation, such as continuous improvement projects. It is interesting that among the perceived disadvantages of working with seniors cost is not so much a fact. Rather managers tend to attribute senior workers a less enthusiastic attitude and less ability to work with technology. However, for most companies (53%) there is no relationship between age and productivity.
Empirical work within the living lab shows clearly that older or retired havereally an ability and attitude of innovation. If they have been previously qualified and as long as they work on projects and with collaborative methodologies. This approach allows co-design and co-innovation in complex technology projects.
Senior job market
It has also been a key result of the project to test methodologies to create jobs in real environments. the result is that there are potential markets in the fields:
– Professionalisation of volunteer work
– Training for digital jobs and senior markets
– Co-design and co-innovation in health
– Social integration through technology