We’ve seen them in movies for years: The bumbling, out-of-touch older person at the office who just can’t figure out how to turn on a computer or send a text. Contrary to this pervasive stereotype, a recent Dropbox survey of more than 4,000 IT workers found that people over age 55 are actually less likely than their younger colleagues to find using tech in the workplace stressful.
On average, people 55 and up used 4.9 forms of technology per week, compared to the overall average of 4.7 per week, the survey found. Only 13% of respondents aged 55 and older reported having trouble working with multiple devices, compared to 37% of 18-to-34-year olds.
Despite their evident tech skills, workers in all age groups tended to believe that older workers were slower to adopt new technology, with 59% of 18-34 year olds reporting feeling this way.
“It’s dangerous for companies to assume that if you’re under 35, you’re tech savvy,” said Paul Bernard, an executive coach and regular contributor to Next Avenue, a website for 50-plus-year-olds. “In many cases, I’ve seen that many older people are able to combine tech-savvy with communication skills—almost without exception, it’s easier for older workers to pick up more tech skills than younger workers, who are tech savvy, to pick up communication skills.”