Think Learning Think Young

Examining the effect of stereotypes on work engagement and performance

An aging population is one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century. Organisations need to address this demographic shift by learning to better retain and engage their older workers. However, there are unique challenges associated with doing this, which relate to the persistent stereotypes (and meta-stereotypes) that older workers are less productive, less motivated, and less able to learn than their younger counterparts. Such perceptions are especially damaging in a world where working effectively is often equated with being able to constantly learn and adapt to new technologies and demands.

The primary objective of this research project is to advance our understanding of age-based stereotypes as they apply to the older worker, so as to inform workplace policy and develop human resource practices that encourage the productive participation and engagement of older workers in the work place.

This research is conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Future of Work Institute at Curtin University, and will involve a combination of laboratory and field studies.

For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Suggested readings

Research team leader: Dr Serena Wee

I am an organisational psychologist whose research focuses on designing effective and equitable recruitment and selection systems. My research focuses on how individual differences (e.g., perceptions, abilities, personality) influence behaviours and performance at work, and also, how these individual differences relate to demographic group membership (e.g., gender, age).

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships.

The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to Australian applicants for study in participating countries and regions.

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to international applicants from participating countries and regions.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.