Age-based worker stereotypes and expected work performance

Gretchen A. Petery, Serena Wee, Patrick D. Dunlop and Sharon K. Parker (2020). Older workers and poor performance: Examining the association of age stereotypes with expected work performance quality. International Journal of Selection and Assessment 2020; 00:1–12.


We investigated how age-based worker stereotypes correspond with attributes of expected work performance. Participants (N = 220) rated 86 stereotypical descriptors of older (e.g., ‘resistant to change’) and younger workers (e.g., ‘savvy with technology’). Each descriptor was rated on both the extent that it was a common stereotype about younger (vs. older) workers, and characteristic of good (vs. poor) expected work performance. Ratings revealed stereotypes that were strongly associated with both a worker age group and with work performance quality, offering an explanatory mechanism for how candidates’ ages might influence judgments around personnel selection. A table of the paired age/performance ratings is provided to encourage the development of less age-biased recruitment and selection materials.