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Golden Generation vs. Ageing Population

The second edition of the conference cycle held within the remit of Knowledge@CatólicaLisbon, under the subject “Golden Generation vs. Ageing Population” took place on 10 April. It addressed the current challenge of combining the most well-educated generation ever with the oldest generation ever, who currently work side by side in a global, competitive world which is constantly changing.

Among the speakers at the conference were Isabel Viegas, Executive Training Programme coordinator for CATÓLICA-LISBON, Tatiana Marques, Researcher at CATÓLICA-LISBON, Marta Fortunato, from The Navigator Company, Nuno Troni, from Randstad, Vítor Norinha, from Jornal Económico, as well as students from CATÓLICA-LISBON Emília de Abreu, Hanna Nikanorova, Felix Olenhusen and Gagan Gupta.

Golden Generation vs. Ageing Population” discussed the ageing population and the ways in which the job market is learning to deal with the generation gap in companies.

From the employers’ point of view, it’s crucial to keep their older members of staff motivated despite the changes and adaptation which companies have been required to adopt.

“To develop in order to grow”: this is the guiding principle for Marta Fortunato, who defends the need to ensure that the knowledge brought by younger employees is retained, while recognising the experience and added value which they bring to companies.

On the other hand, Marta Fortunato does not forget older employees and their relevance as mentors and teachers to younger staff members. The Navigator Company has been developing the Shadow Project (a learning centre), where more senior employees pass on their knowledge to interns and more junior staff through mentoring.

Nuno Troni, from Randstad, who deals daily with the challenge of bridging the gap between job offer and demand, understands that developing soft skills is increasingly important in the job market. The recruitment agency director emphasised that nowadays companies no longer base their candidate’s application process merely on job adverts, but also through networking, because we live in a society where “everyone knows who everyone is within the job market”.

As well as the views offered by The Navigator Company and Randstad, the conference also included a scientific and academic perspective on the subject, presented by Tatiana Marques.

This researcher from CATÓLICA-LISBON, who has been conducting several studies on the impact of an ageing population on the job market, started by point out that there are many negative stereotypes associated with older workers, such as the idea that they are less competent, less productive and less motivated than younger people, which is nothing but a myth, according to several studies conducted on the subject. Tatiana Marques argues that, despite the fact that younger people are, as a rule, more productive while they are being trained, older people tend to display fewer counterproductive behaviours and tend to be less confrontational, as well as being more loyal to their company and remaining for longer periods of time.

To Isabel Viegas, from CATÓLICA-LISBON, companies’ success is intrinsically linked to their ability to deal with the four generations who currently work together, as this is the only way for them to be sustainable.

The conference “Golden Generation vs. Ageing Population” also included a session where four students from CATÓLICA-LISBON shared their experiences and concerns.

Under a premise of sharing, which will be divided into different sessions throughout the year, we will identify, examine and discuss the main challenges that Portugal faces, within the remit of Knowledge@CatólicaLisbon. And, as a result, we will raise awareness, guide and help economic, social and political decision-makers to make informed and thought-through decisions about the best way to overcome the challenges we face.


“In the future, the companies who are able to better manage the issue of age diversity will be the front-runners who will endure for many years to come.”

Isabel Viegas, Executive Training Programme coordinator for CATÓLICA-LISBON.

“There are no significant differences between younger and older people when it comes to fulfilling a task. A younger person will be comfortable with diverse tasks, they will want a very meaningful job, mentoring and plenty of feedback, while older people prefer to use their skills, they value results and interpersonal relationships, they want complete autonomy and to deliver feedback.”

Tatiana Marques, Researcher at CATÓLICA-LISBON.

“Younger people are very keen to learn and know new things, and older people are very keen to pass on their knowledge.”

Marta Fortunato, The Navigator Company.

“The ability to develop soft skills will become increasingly important. Companies are changing the way they consider talent drastically, and they care more and more about their staff, both of younger and older generations.”

Nuno Troni, Randstad.

“It’s crucial for me to feel that I share the purpose and values of the company I’ll come to work for. But I also want to be able to support my future family, the same way that my parents did for me.”

Felix Olenhusen, MSc student in Management with Specialization in Strategy & Consulting. 

“I worry that when I enter the job market I’ll come to regret my choice of career. I don’t want to fall into a routine.”

Hanna Nikanorova, MSc student in Finance.

“For me, the most important thing is to work in a company where I can try new things and be continuously guided.”

Gagan Gupta, MSc student in Management with Specialization in Strategy & Consulting.

“I’m looking for job opportunities where I can learn, apply my knowledge, express my ideas and where I don’t feel intimidated because of my age.”

Emília de Abreu, MSc student in Management with Specialization in Strategic Marketing.

We would like to thank Vítor Norinha for mediating the conference.