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What's the Best Age to Become a Boss?

Jeanette Mulvey, TMN
Wednesday, 18 Jul 2012 | 10:17 AM ET
Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Good news for older workers looking for a job: New research has determined that managers demonstrate their highest levels of professional vitality in their 50s.

The research, conducted at the University of Haifa in Israel, defined a manager’s professional vitality as the ability to both carry out tasks with passion, vigor and competence, and to gain satisfaction from his or her work performance.

The researchers specifically examined the functionality of high-tech, engineering and infrastructure executives.

"The advantages and disadvantages of taking on mature employees have been widely debated over the past few years," the researchers said. "This new study now shows that in terms of vitality, advancing age plays a significant role.

The researchers 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.

The results show that the more vitality the managers demonstrate, the more ability they have to draw upon personal resources to succeed in their work, and commitment to their work is enhanced, the researchers said. Professional vitality was also positively linked to the manager's position in the company's hierarchy and to the manager's work life balance. Moreover, the higher the level of vitality, the less a manager considers leaving his or her place of work.

Employees who have the support of their employers are also more likely to have higher levels of workplace vitality, the researchers found.

"Our study shows that providing tools for workers to improve their professional vitality will also improve their satisfaction and will help cultivate resourceful and innovative workers. This indicates that an organization should make it a priority to provide such tools. Workers' vitality 'fuels' the success of the organization, and the fact that professional vitality is preserved and actually rises well into one’s 50s indicates that organizations investing in this aspect of the workplace will be able to benefit from productive workers for many years," the researchers concluded.

The research was conducted by Shmuel Grimland, Yehuda Baruch and Eran Vigoda-Gadot.

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