It’s common knowledge that people from all over the world are living longer now than ever before.

When coupled with falling birth rates and rising retirement age, it’s no surprise that we all exist as part of a growing, ageing work population.

An article by The Economist reveals that in 2010, the world had 16 people aged 65 and over for every 100 adults between the ages of 25 and 64 (working age). It is estimated that by 2035, Japan will have 69 old people for every 100 working-age and Germany will have 66. The UK is expected to have 2 working-age people for every 1 old before 2060.

According to the article, productivity growth has ‘slowed sharply’ in Japan and ‘become lacklustre’ for Germany, suggesting that an ageing work population could mean a less efficient and potentially unproductive workforce. That being said, research suggests that better education leads to higher productivity at any age, which means that a group of highly educated older people would still increase overall productivity.

Our recent Fulfilment@work survey revealed that older people are feeling more fulfilled at work than ever before. This could explain why people are working longer and investing in education and training at an older age. It could also arguably suggest that productivity doesn’t correlate negatively with an ageing work population, as it is common knowledge that a ‘happy workforce’ is a more productive workforce.

So perhaps it is perception we need to address. Businesses should not disregard older workers or pre-judge a more experienced applicant in favour of newly qualified graduates or trainees, as different demographic groups (and individuals) will bring different skills and attributes to the table.

The world’s largest independent employer brand survey, The Randstad Award, explores the perceptions of 200,000 global applicants to discover what they look for in a good employer. UK results can be segmented by age, educational background, location and trade – you can view the Randstad Award UK report here. Take a look and see how age and education affect what people want from a potential employer.