Posts Tagged “experience matters”

New research of Australia’s older workers has found that experiences of age discrimination in the workplace have almost doubled in the last five years.

According to the Australian Seniors Series: Ageing in the Workforce 2021 report, one in five workers (20.7%) aged over 50 has encountered age discrimination in the workplace – twice as many compared to 2016 (9.6%). Just over 40% say they have felt patronised in the workplace because of their age.

Despite the prevalence of ageism, more than three quarters of Australians aged over 50 want to keep working indefinitely and almost 90% of retirees plan to re-enter the workforce. Finance was identified as the biggest reason, followed by missing their job, boredom and a lack of social connection.

Speaking at a recent virtual roundtable, attended by HRD, industry experts discussed the new findings, sharing common misconceptions and ways to address ageism in the workplace. Tai Mavins, social research expert and consulting partner at Mymavins, said the events of the past 18 months have made things even more difficult for older workers.

“Over one in two seniors feel that Covid has made it harder to get work, and close to one in five feel that recent events have impacted their retirement plans, so it’s bringing a lot of uncertainty into their working life,” Mavins said. “In response to this, we actually see that one in four seniors admit to trying to make themselves look younger in the workplace or when they’re applying for jobs. That includes things from dying their hair, wearing the latest fashion, getting the latest haircut and makeup styles.”

Older workers are also becoming increasingly proactive at upskilling to keep up with advancing industry trends, with many branching out into new career paths.

“We found that close to three in five seniors plan to or already have reskilled or sought further training to improve their prospects since turning 50,” Mavins said. “What’s probably most interesting about that is as many as half of those people who are looking to reskill have done that in new areas, so they’re really expanding their horizons and moving beyond past roles.”

The research shows that the appetite to work and to continue learning is there. Like many nations, Australia has an ageing population, and the rising cost of living means people are working till later in life. So how do HR leaders address the causes of age discrimination and foster a truly inclusive workplace?

Humphrey Armstrong, an organisational psychologist at Lifelong Learning, said much of the problem stems back to commonly held misconceptions, like older employees costing more, being more difficult to train, or being resistant to change.

“I think one of the fascinating things is that emotional intelligence, or emotional capabilities actually increase with age well into a person’s 70s,” he said. “In terms of resistance to change, I think if older people know why change is needed and how to change they are prepared to jump on board.”

Armstrong pointed out that twice as many start-ups are initiated by over 50s than people in their twenties. Clearly, there is a huge amount of value in the learned knowledge, intuition and life experience of an older worker. But for a workforce to be inclusive of all ages, ageism needs to be more widely talked about, Armstrong said.

“We hear a lot about gender diversity, especially over the last few months, but in fact, age diversity is often ignored. We’ve got to actually bring that in and really reinforce the issue,” Armstrong said. “Research studies show that diversity is an incredible advantage in organisational life, it increases profitability, creativity, enhances governance, and it also enables better problem solving.

“And as mentioned, emotional intelligence can increase with age so there’s this huge resource where older people are, in fact, very valuable and very skilled at handling tricky interpersonal problems and generally they are better able to cope with ambiguity.”

Lisa Sinclair, editor-in-chief at DARE Magazine, said she’d like to see more organisations introducing policies to support women going through menopause and acknowledge the pressures on the “sandwich generation” who may be supporting both elderly parents and older children. There are also simple measures to improve inclusivity during the recruitment process.

“I would love it if companies in general stopped advertising for unicorns, which are these mythical creatures that have 15 different boxes to tick,” she said. “I mean that’s hard enough for any age but I think it could be particularly confronting for the over 50s who might be put off for applying for jobs just because there’s one element they don’t meet.”

Source:HRD

older worker

 

Australia’s chronic skill shortage has been even more acute since the breakout of COVID-19, and the broken record from businesses across all industries is the lack of skilled workers. In the age of emerging technologies and the rapid rate of change, it is natural for employers to gravitate to the younger (‘techier’) generation.

But younger workers are in short supply, shown by the decline in Australia’s birth rate over the last 30 years. Since 1976, Australia’s total fertility rate has been below replacement level and in 2019, the ‘total fertility rate’ was 1.66 versus its peak of 3.55 in 1961.

So, should astute hiring managers be looking towards the relatively untapped resource presented by the 19.4% of our workforce over 55 years of age? Over 55-year-olds also represent a significant 38.5% of the population above 19 years of age. With a current combined life expectancy of 83 years, a 55-year-old has many working years ahead of them.

Are older Australians up to the job?

If you are worried about performance, research shows no difference in performance between older and more youthful workers.  A key strategy for workforces globally is to reskill and upskill their existing workforce, and older workers are equally able to adapt and learn new skills. Scientific evidence shows that ‘for most people, raw mental horsepower declines after the age of 30, but knowledge and expertise – the main predictors of job performance–keep increasing even beyond the age of 80.’ Some businesses persist in trying to source talent from the ‘younger generational’ pool – their age bias can be that strong! In a recent study, 31% of Australians reported experiencing a form of discrimination, with ageism topping the list. But if employers were to rethink their approach when it comes to older workers, they would soon find themselves with a valuable talent pool.

Skills displayed in older workers

Still not convinced. There are skills older workers have that their younger counterparts may not possess. Older workers have wisdom. Wisdom cannot be learnt from books or virtual learning scenarios. It is acquired over time from life experience, knowledge, and tried and tested judgements. Valuable insights, meaningful contributions, and good decision making are some of the benefits.

 Mentoring enhances training programs and represents a valuable and different dynamic for mentees. We have lost some of our formal and traditional structures with changing societal norms and, with that, real role models. Acting as role models based on values and life achievements, they can nurture younger workers and share general and professional knowledge, experience, and life lessons. Mentoring creates trusted relations, increases employee engagement and retention, provides inspiration, encouragement and helps diversity.

Patience and tolerance are not just needed but expected for all workplaces. Learnt patience comes with time and less of a need to prove yourself. Being comfortable in your skin brings confidence, more prevalent in mature workers. Having tolerance in accepting people’s views and differences positively impact the team environment, bringing increased inclusion, cooperation, and collaboration. Patience also leads to better self-regulation skills benefiting team dynamics.

Over the years, mature employees have worked with various types of co-workers and managers and learnt how to handle different personality styles and work environments. Their interpersonal skills are well-honed. Their perceptions and understanding of behaviours are deeper.

We have all worked with those special, reliable employees who have seen it all before and know how to weather the latest storm. In our current times of increased uncertainty, rapid change and the collective anxiety brought on by COVID, it makes sense to employ stable, mature, wise individuals who can act as emotional anchors and help us navigate turbulent waters.

For the first time, Australia’s workforce includes five different generations. It opens up a learning opportunity and creates better business performance. As a final point, before you continue to dismiss ‘older workers’, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), older workers are those 45-65 years of age. Now, who is an older worker?

 

Source: Womens Agenda

Senior Advisor Bequest

RMIT’s latest mature aged graduates are today celebrating the value of lifelong learning as they receive qualifications to work in the aged care and disability services sector.

The 31 graduates aged in their 50s, 60s and 70s were the first cohort to complete the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing and Disability).

The 12-month course was developed to support unemployed mature workers over the age of 50 through accredited training and job placement in the aged care and disability services sector.

It’s one initiative as part of the Reach, Train and Employ Project led by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria in partnership with RMIT and Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand.

RMIT’s Future Social Service Institute (FSSI) Director, Micaela Cronin, said the course aimed to increase employment opportunities for older Australians in a vital sector, supporting older people and those with disabilities in the community.

“Opening doors and creating effective pathways for those in our community who face barriers to training and employment is vital to growing a diverse and highly skilled social service sector and is a core part of the work that we do,”  she said.

news-Micaela-CroninRMIT’s Future Social Service Institute Director, Micaela Cronin says opening doors to training and employment in the social services sector is vital.

Graduate Sharyn Ciberlin, 53, has now found work as a personal carer, after being in and out of work since 2018.

After an initial career as a chef, that included working for the military and various hospitality venues, Sharyn had more recently been working at a school supporting teachers in the classroom and teaching kids to cook.

However she said it was doing voluntary work for Melton Council taking elderly to their appointments and then supporting a friend who had a stroke that made her realise she also had a flair and passion for personal care and supporting others in the community.

“This course and new career feels like a wonderful fit for me. The people I support, they value and appreciate me and I love to support them, especially as my life experience and knowledge adds to my contribution to the aged,” she said.

“Also being over 50, and having worked as a chef in the past, I was looking for a job that was less strenuous physically and one that suited my skills and qualities including compassion and empathy for others.”

Sharyn emphasised the importance of choices and opportunities to re-educate yourself as people get older.

“This program is really clever as it’s addressing two issues in our community: employing older workers and focusing on supporting members in our community including the aged and people with a disability,” she said.

“You do hear about homeless levels for people over 50 or that we can be slotted into the ‘too old’ category for some roles.

“It can be especially challenging for our generation of women who have had to care for our family, elderly and young and may have had time out of our careers to do this.

“It’s so important to keep ourselves re-educated and to fit in with the current work needs, especially if we’ve had to step out of work for a time.

Graduate Sharyn Cyberlin has embraced the opportunity to retrain and begin a new career in her 50s.Graduate Sharyn Cyberlin has embraced the opportunity to retrain and begin a new career in her 50s.

For Sharyn, learning new digital skills throughout the course was something she wholeheartedly embraced too, as COVID restrictions meant it was taught mostly online.

“I absolutely loved learning, including the technology aspects, and I enjoyed helping others in the course who weren’t so confident in learning the new skills or grasping the technology needed to complete the program,” she said.

And she is quick to point out the merits of education opportunities for all.

“My biggest passion is choice. I think everyone should have a choice about the paths they can take,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter where you are or what stage of life you’re in, people need to have their choices valued and heard.”

Having already secured casual work with two home service agencies, Sharyn is now looking forward to finding permanent work and using her skills to support others now she’s graduated.

“I always tell my clients, ‘I’m here to help and I am here for you’ and I like to ask them, ‘How can I help you?’ Even if it’s just to be a listening ear sometimes, I know this work is valuable.”

COTA Victoria CEO, Tina Hogarth-Clarke, said the inaugural program was a great success with graduates now working closely with COTA Victoria to look at job opportunities.

“The Victorian Aged and Disability sector is in desperate need of quality candidates and we have a group of very enthusiastic graduates who are ideal for these positions. It is a great outcome all round.”

The program was supported by the Try, Test and Learn Fund – an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Story: Kate Milkins

The Big Victorian Harvest needs workers of all ages and skillsets. Jobs include fruit picking, packing, grains receival and heavy vehicle driving.

Most jobs required skills that can be learned on the job. Some jobs require training, skills or licences – like driving, for example. Check what’s needed before you apply.

The work is rewarding but it can be physically demanding. Some jobs may require heavy lifting, bending, climbing ladders and operating machinery. Work is often outdoors and exposed to the elements.

There are thousands of short-term jobs ripe for the picking in paddocks and packing sheds in Sunraysia, the Goulburn Valley, the Yarra Valley and Gippsland.

Take on the Big Victorian Harvest and help our farmers while you earn money.

Ready to apply? Head to Working for Victoria, the government’s online job-matching platform to register for jobs and training.

Sign-on bonus and extra benefits

The Big Victorian Harvest needs workers of all ages and skillsets. Jobs include fruit picking, packing, grains receival and heavy vehicle driving.

Most jobs required skills that can be learned on the job. Some jobs require training, skills or licences – like driving, for example. Check what’s needed before you apply.

The work is rewarding but it can be physically demanding. Some jobs may require heavy lifting, bending, climbing ladders and operating machinery. Work is often outdoors and exposed to the elements.

Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus

Jobseekers who take up a seasonal harvest job on a Victorian farm on or after Wednesday 17 February 2021 can apply for a Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus.

The bonus is aimed at attracting new workers to agriculture and giving farmers the workforce certainty they need this harvest season.

The bonus means you could earn up to $2,430 on top of your wages for eight weeks of work. The bonus is paid in two instalments:

  • $810, after 10 days of work within a 30-day period
  • $1,620, after an additional six weeks’ work within a 90-day period.

To be eligible for the bonus you must:

  • be 18 years or older and have work rights in Australia
  • not have worked in the agriculture sector in Victoria in the past three months
  • complete at least 10 days’ seasonal harvest work on a Victorian horticulture farm within a 30 day period to receive the $810 payment
  • complete at least another 30 days’ seasonal harvest work on a Victorian horticulture farm within a 90 day period to receive the $1,620 payment
  • not be employed under the Pacific Labour Scheme or Seasonal Worker Programme
  • provide evidence of employment in the Victorian horticulture industry and that you have met the work eligibility requirements.

The work does not need to be undertaken with only one employer, but it does need to be on a Victorian horticulture farm.

How to apply

Workers are not required to register for the bonus until after the initial 10-day work eligibility period has been completed.

Once you have completed your 10 days’ work, you will be able to apply for the bonus on this webpage, through our online portal.

Further details about how to apply will be provided here soon.

Extra benefits

The Victorian and Commonwealth Government are offering incentives for people to work in agriculture.

Relocation rebate

If you move to work on the Big Victorian Harvest, you may be eligible for relocation assistance from the Commonwealth Government.

Australian jobseekers may be eligible to claim up to $6,000 of reimbursements, while up to $2,000 is available to international jobseekers.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • relocate within Australia to a regional, remote or Harvest Area
  • take up a short-term agricultural work through a Harvest Trail Services provider
  • work for at least six weeks and 120 hours in agricultural work.

Find out more about relocation rebate and the eligibility criteria on the Harvest Trail Services website.

If you take on the Big Victorian Harvest, you may be eligible for:

  • Greater access to Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY. Earn $15,000 in agriculture between 30 November 2020 and 31 December 2021 to be considered independent.
  • Free Victorian Government-funded training programs to get you ready for work in agriculture.

Eligibility to work

You can work in a harvest job if you:

  • are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • are an eligible working holiday maker holding a visa with appropriate working rights
  • are an overseas student with working rights in Australia
  • hold a Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme visa
  • hold a temporary work visa with general work rights, not restricted to an employer or type of work.

Youth employment subsidy may cause significant collateral damage.

Older workers are already losing their jobs as a result of the federal government’s JobMaker initiative, according to Ian Yates, chief executive of the Council on the Ageing (COTA).

“We are very worried,” he said. “Already we’ve seen reports of older workers being laid off so they can be replaced with JobMaker workers.”

Mr Yates said COTA, an advocate for the rights of older Australians, had heard from “several” mature-aged workers being given notice as their bosses looked to take advantage of the JobMaker subsidy, introduced during the recent federal budget to counter youth unemployment.

JobMaker aims to create 450,000 jobs for young people, who’ve been four times more likely to lose their jobs or have their hours cut during the coronavirus pandemic. It offers $200 a week for businesses to hire workers under the age of 30, who are currently on JobSeeker, receiving a Youth Allowance or the Parenting Payment for at least 20 hours per week. The subsidy is $100 a week for workers aged 30 to 35. All businesses, except for the major banks, can access the scheme, which will be available for up to a year.

The Guardian reports: “Treasury officials revealed the conservative estimated benefit of the JobMaker hiring credit on Monday, ahead of a snap inquiry likely to spark calls to legislate more safeguards to the program.”

When the subsidy was proposed, ACTU Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said JobMaker had many flaws that “hadn’t been thought through”.

Ms O’Neill was concerned that older workers would be replaced by several younger ones.

“You’ve increased overall headcount and payroll, but replaced older workers with younger ones,” she told The New Daily.

“The employer will get double the wage subsidy if they employ two workers for 20 hours a week than if it was one for 40 hours. There’s no requirement for secure jobs or full-time jobs. They could hire them for a short period and replace them with another worker.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt wanted to see details of the scheme, concerned it might worsen the unemployment crisis. And Labor leader Anthony Albanese was concerned 928,000 jobless people aged over 35 would be disadvantaged.

Mr Yates sought a subsidy for older workers.

“Many mature-aged workers who are out of work due to the pandemic are facing disastrous personal circumstances. The Liquid Assets Waiting Period means they must spend their savings before they can get help: savings they will need in retirement,” Mr Yates told senior.com.au.

“Australia needs urgent action, or we’ll push a huge group, mostly women, into poverty in old age.”

Mr Yates supported the scheme but said mature and older workers were “equally vulnerable”.

He said people aged 18 to 24 and over-55s were most in need, and older people took twice as long to get a job.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the headcount and payroll of businesses needed to be higher after they hired people via JobMaker. He said this “integrity test” would ensure older workers were not exploited.

However, there is already rampant age discrimination in employment, said Professor Marian Baird, who heads work and organisational studies at the University of Sydney.

Prof. Baird told the ABC that JobMaker provided an incentive for employers to “cherry-pick people of a certain age”.

She feared it could encourage employers to “abandon older people in the labour market”.

“So, you could substitute someone who is 40 with someone who is 22.”

Prof. Baird said it was “a recipe for casualisation” because employers were only required to hire people for an average of 20 hours a week over a quarter to qualify for the subsidy.

“Someone could work 30 or 40 hours a week, none the next,” she said. “There’s no indication jobs have to be permanent or ongoing.”

Professor Andrew Stewart, an employment law specialist at the University of Adelaide, said the scheme would be difficult to police.

Anglicare Australia’s annual Jobs Availability Snapshot found that disadvantaged jobseekers, including older workers, were competing with more people for fewer jobs.

This year, eight jobseekers are competing for each entry-level job. If all jobseekers are included, there are 106 jobseekers for each entry-level job.

There are also 1.63 million under-employed Australians who could also be competing for these jobs.

“If we’re serious about helping people, we need to create jobs that match their skills – instead of forcing them to compete for jobs that just aren’t there,” said Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers

 

Source:Yourlifechoices.com.au

Government’s controversial JobMaker legislation passes, putting older workers at risk.

The Morrison government’s controversial JobMaker legislation has passed the Senate without the amendments designed to add protection for older workers after One Nation backflipped on its decision to block the unamended scheme.

On Tuesday we reported that independent senators Rex Patrick and Pauline Hanson had announced that they wouldn’t support the bill, which opened the door for Labor and the Greens to pass amendments that added in protection for older workers.

The JobMaker hiring credit scheme, which was announced in last month’s Budget, aims to provide employees with a financial incentive to hire younger workers, but experts are concerned that it will lead to businesses firing more mature and experienced staff in a bid to reduce expenses.

The program gives employers $200 a week for employing a jobless person under 30 and $100 for hiring those aged 30 to 35.

The Greens also proposed amendments that would ban companies that have underpaid their staff accessing the scheme and prevent companies sacking staff and claiming the credit.

The amendments were rejected in the House of Representatives and sent back to the Senate, where One Nation supported the legislation passing without amendment.

Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi accused One Nation of throwing older workers under a bus by passing the legislation without the protection amendments.

“There is nothing in this bill stopping employers from firing their staff or from reducing their hours,” Ms Faruqi said.

“Not only can they fire their staff and reduce their hours but those workers have no avenue to complain or to have a dispute resolution process. That’s what One Nation are voting for.

“They are throwing all workers – young, old or otherwise – under the bus.

“I hope that they will face the consequences of this decision. But, unfortunately, it will be too late for the workers that they have thrown under the bus.”

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts told Parliament the party had changed its mind on the legislation after being presented with new data on unemployment rates between younger and older generations.

“When we get new data, we have the courage and the integrity to change our mind,” Mr Roberts said.

“The second figure is that the Australian unemployment rate for people older than 35 is 4 per cent. I know damn well that people around Australia who are over 35 years of age will recognise those figures, because they care about younger people, not just themselves.”

Labor senator Katy Gallagher questioned the government’s motivation for not wanting to add protections to its JobMaker hiring credits scheme.

“The fact that the government has refused to accept the amendments and is asking the Senate to not insist on them without an explanation really begs the question: why is the government opposed to amendments that stop employers from being able to sack existing workers?” Ms Gallagher asked.

“There was no engagement, no explanation, no justification for why relatively minor but important amendments could not be agreed to.

“This hiring credit scheme may do some good for young workers, and that is why we have supported the scheme, albeit with concerns. Those concerns go to issues like job security, the fact that the scheme is pretty modest and the fact that government has no answer for what it will do for unemployed workers over the age of 35.”

Do you support the JobMaker hiring credits scheme for younger workers? Do you think there should be protections to ensure older workers are not sacked to hire younger workers at a cheaper rate?

 

Source: Yourlifechoices.com.au

Older unemployed and underemployed workers struggling to find roles due to ageism in recruiting

Many older applicants report being rejected for jobs because of “Cultural Fit”

Answer this question: How easy is it for you to strike up a good conversation with your younger colleagues in the office kitchen?

It may seem like a strange question, but that’s a benchmark some companies are using to decide who to hire, one Sydney-based recruiter tells us, and the assumption is that older Australians won’t know what to say to their younger colleagues.

When PM spoke to 44-year-old John Allie last month his confidence had begun to take a hit because after more than 100 job applications, and 30 final round interviews, the feedback was always the same.

“You interviewed well, they really liked you, but they didn’t feel you were a cultural fit for the role,” Mr Allie said.

“I mean what does that even mean?”

Mr Allie feared it was a bit of a catch-all comment to imply he wouldn’t get along with his younger co-workers.

So, PM asked those involved in the hiring process if Mr Allie’s fears were well founded.

“The candidate you were talking about saying it’s used as a bit of a catch-all is true,” Mark Smith, the group managing director of recruitment firm people2people, said.

He shared his own example of a middle-aged candidate being passed over for not being the right cultural fit in a call centre.

“We had a more mature guy that went in for the job,” he said.

“That’s the way the client described it to us and that’s how we had to pass it onto him.”

In this example, the company went with a younger candidate.

“The reality is that they asked him how are you going to deal with this particularly stressful job with the inbound calls,” Mr Smith explained.

“He said, ‘well I would engage in some banter in the kitchen with my colleagues’.

“That’s when the [company] turned to us and said, ‘you know what, he’s probably not going to be able to engage in the banter in the kitchen with his colleagues because he really won’t have too much in common with them to talk about.

“So they went with another candidate who happened to be younger.”

Young favoured for tech-heavy roles

But it’s not just navigating office banter that’s tripping up older Australian job candidates, said Kathryn Macmillan, the managing director of 923 Recruitment.

Her team places white-collar workers in finance, administration, sales, marketing and technical roles, from entry level to senior management.

She told PM that, for many admin and tech-heavy roles, companies are actively preferencing younger candidates.

“Perfect example of that is Single Touch Payroll,” she said.

“People in accounts need to be able to navigate a huge amount of software: MyGov ID, Single Touch Payroll, and it’s really quite complex.

“So it’s that ability to be proficient in that technological use.”

PM asked Ms Macmillan if she was seeing a preference from companies for younger people to take on those roles as opposed to older people who perhaps aren’t “digital natives”.

“So for people who are older it’s very important that they address that perception.”

Figures from the partly government-funded Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research show 18 per cent of workers aged 55-64 believe their organisation discriminates on the basis of age in recruitment and selection.

This preference for younger candidates is starting to show up in the number of older Australians being forced onto government assistance programs.

Australians aged between 45 and 65 now make up about half of all unemployment support recipients, with more than 330,000 on the welfare payment as of September last year.

‘Pick a footy team to follow’

Recruiter Mark Smith said there was definitely a need for older Australians to work on their job skills, but also called on the Government to establish workplace age diversity targets to combat the problem.

Age discrimination commissioner Kay Patterson told PM a large number of companies were breaching the law by discriminating on the basis of age.

PM asked Dr Patterson if the Government had any plans to set an age diversity target, at least for the public sector.

“I don’t know if setting targets is the way to go about it,” she said.

“My team here have been working on training programs for the NSW State Government to encourage their recruiters to look towards a multi-generational workforce and making sure there’s diversity — not only in terms of gender — but in terms of age as well.

“I think it’s about educating employers that they benefit from having a range of age groups.”

In the meantime, Mark Smith’s advice for underutilised or unemployed older Australians is to be specific when asking for feedback from recruiters.

“Ask the recruiter ‘what particular competencies was I lacking?'” he said.

“‘How would you describe the culture?’ and get them to describe it back to him.”

Oh, and pick a footy team to follow … seriously.

“What that means is that if you’re going to work in an environment where you’ve got a lot of people who are interested in AFL, if you’ve moved to Melbourne, you’ve got to pick up a team.”

source: ABC

Older adults offer leadership and experience, yet are often overlooked in the hiring process with HR instead focusing on millennials. That’s according to Ben Eatwell, CMO at Weploy.

Eatwell added that this is often out of a desire to “nurture the next generation of talent”, but also the satisfaction out of having a major impact on these younger minds.

“That’s quite a long way from retirement! We know diversity positively impacts innovation, culture and profits, but often age diversity has less focus.”

Eatwell said there are many advantages to employing older adults, particularly in positions where experience and leadership are needed. However, this doesn’t seem to be translating into more opportunities for older Australians.

“I think this has to do with trying to fit workers into traditional organisational structures – by exploring more agile, networked and outcome-oriented structures it can not only improve diversity but also productivity.”

Eatwell offers a few tips for HR professionals who want to boost the number of older Australians amongst their staff.

The starting point should always be a “thorough assessment of the recruitment process” to identify and mitigate where age discrimination could arise.

“One of the key traits we assess is learning agility – in a nutshell, the ability to pick new ideas up quickly,” he said.

“Research suggests that although you can make small improvements to your learning agility, it is more or less fixed and is not dependent on age.”

Consequently, choosing candidates based on learning agility can help add some objectivity to the hiring process.

From there it’s about developing a culture of lifelong learning. Mature employees have a huge amount of experience to share which can be “leveraged to increase overall productivity and morale”.

“Also I’ve seen reverse mentoring work very well, reducing knowledge gaps with both younger and more mature workers, as well as improving organisational culture.”

So what is lost by having nobody senior around?

“Often it’s the times of crisis when calm is needed, or when team morale is affected by a failed project, that age diverse workforces show critical value,” said Eatwell.

“We do a lot of ‘learning by doing’ and that includes what to do when things do not go according to plan.”

Eatwell added that leadership is a quality that is not tied to age, but the “reassurance of someone who has seen a crisis and worked through it to tell the tale” can be invaluable in making sure the right work gets done in these high-pressure moments.

Sometimes, the only senior person on a project is the boss, and employees are reluctant to confess an error that can lead to disaster if unaddressed, he added.

“Having a senior member of the workforce who can act as that neutral-confidant, and know what to do with the information, has considerable value.”

Employees from diverse ages have different experiences, perceptions and approaches when it comes to things like problem-solving, decision making and task handling, he said.

“They can also use various strategies – starting from the way they think, plan and execute tasks, which can influence operations in a more subtle, but still valuable way.”

Source:hcamag.com

People are living longer, and organizations are shifting their attitudes toward older workers as a result. Organizations that can turn advancing worker age into an asset could gain a competitive advantage.

Longer lives, older workforces

Rising life expectancies and an aging global workforce present organizations with unprecedented challenges and untapped opportunities. Companies that plan, design, and experiment with workforce strategies, workplace policies, and management approaches for longer working lives can reap a longevity dividend. Those that lag behind face potential liability concerns and skill gaps. Creating ways for people to have meaningful, productive multi-stage and multidimensional careers is a major opportunity to engage workers across generations.

 

 

One of modern science’s greatest achievements is longevity: the unprecedented length of human lives today. Average global life expectancy has rocketed from 53 years in 1960 to 72 years in 2015—and it is still climbing,1 with life expectancy projected to grow by 1.5 years per decade.2 Longevity, combined with falling birth rates, is dramatically increasing the share of older people in populations worldwide.3 Looking ahead, the number of retirees per worker globally is expected to decline from 8:1 today to 4:1 in 2050.4

These demographic facts have profound implications for individuals, organizations, and society. In this era of longevity, an individual’s career can last far longer, spanning generations of technologies and businesses. Companies can employ people into their 60s, 70s, and beyond as the pool of traditional “working-age” (20- to 54-year-old) adults shrinks. For their part, many individuals find the need—financially and/or emotionally—to stay in the workforce past “traditional” retirement age.

In our 2018 Global Human Capital Trends survey, 29 percent of the respondents rated longevity as a very important issue, and another 40 percent rated it as important. Respondents in Japan in particular, whose population is rapidly aging, were especially concerned about the issue, with 41 percent saying that it is very important.

The looming impacts of global aging

Population aging poses a workforce dilemma for both economies and organizations. Thirteen countries are expected to have “super-aged” populations—where more than one in five people is 65 or older—by 2020, up from just three in 2014.5 These include major economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, and South Korea. China’s 65-and-older population is projected to more than triple from approximately 100 million in 2005 to over 329 million in 2050.6 In fact, analysts have estimated that 60 percent of the world’s population over 65 will live in Asia by 2030.7

Compounding the challenge, almost all developed economies now have birth rates below the replacement rate of 2.1.8 This means that companies in these countries must either attract workers from abroad or tap into the maturing workforce. For a view of the challenges ahead, one needs look no further than Japan—the world’s oldest country—where a shortage of roughly 1 million employees in 2015 and 2016 is estimated to cost nearly $90 billion.9

New research is being conducted to help organizations shape their talent and business strategies for an era of longevity. The MIT AgeLab, for example, works with businesses, government, and other stakeholders to develop solutions and policies aimed at engaging the elderly population. The AgeLab uses consumer-centered thinking to understand the challenges and opportunities of longevity in order to catalyze innovation across business markets.10

Older talent as a competitive advantage

As talent markets grow more competitive, organizations often find it valuable to keep older workers on the job rather than replace them with younger ones. Our research shows that older workers represent a largely untapped opportunity: Only 18 percent of this year’s respondents said that age is viewed as an advantage in their organization. But leading companies are beginning to focus on this talent pool as a competitive advantage.

The older labor pool represents a proven, committed, and diverse set of workers. More than 80 percent of US employers believe that workers aged 50 and more are “a valuable resource for training and mentoring,” “an important source of institutional knowledge,” and offer “more knowledge, wisdom, and life experience.”11 The UK government incentivizes employers to retain, retrain, and recruit older workers, and it is committed to policies that support lifetime learning and training and decrease loneliness and social isolation.12

Proactive organizations are tapping into the older talent pool by extending their career models, creating new development paths, and inventing roles to accommodate workers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. This year, 16 percent of the respondents we surveyed for this report say their companies are creating special roles for older workers, and 20 percent are partnering with older workers to develop new career models. Organizations could find great value in older workers’ ability to serve as mentors, coaches, or experts. Taking on these kinds of roles allows older workers to “pass the baton” to younger generations, while making room for ambitious younger workers.

Many companies are also experimenting with workplace changes to help older employees remain in the workforce. For instance, BMW increased productivity on an assembly line staffed with older workers by 7 percent in just three months through simple changes such as providing cushioned floors and adjustable work benches.13 Home Depot and other organizations are engaging older workers with flexible scheduling options and part-time positions.14 Further, as many as one-third of retirees are willing to work part-time, offering opportunities to leverage this group on a contingent or gig basis.15

Reskilling also plays a role in successful strategies to utilize older talent. One global telecommunications provider encourages senior workers to reinvent themselves and invests in programs to help them acquire new technical skills.16 Software engineers who have built careers on older technologies such as COBOL or C++ can use this experience to learn mobile computing, AI, and other technologies at a very rapid rate.

An interesting and little-known fact, moreover, is that older people are among the most entrepreneurial of workers across age groups. Between 1996 and 2014, the percentage of older workers (aged 55–64) starting new ventures increased—exceeding (by 68 percent) the rate of entrepreneurship among millennial entrepreneurs (aged 20–34), which actually decreased during the same period.17

The new challenges of an aging workforce

The transition toward older talent can present challenges. Older workers may have specialized workplace needs and can attract resentment from younger workers, and they often enjoy higher salaries because of their tenure. Organizations looking to assimilate an older worker population may face the need to design new wage policies, create more flexible rewards programs, and train young leaders to manage people across generations (including team members who may be their parents’ age).

Pensions are another area where longevity impacts organizations. The World Economic Forum estimates that a $70 trillion global retirement savings gap exists today, highlighting the sharp difference between retirement needs and actual retirement income. Moreover, this gap is projected to grow to $400 trillion by 2050.18 Helping older adults to work longer and manage their retirement savings will be a vital need for companies in order to avoid the negative productivity effects of financial stress.

Our Global Human Capital Trends research shows that many organizations are unprepared to deal with the aging of global workforces. Nearly half of the respondents we surveyed (49 percent) reported that their organizations have done nothing to help older workers find new careers as they age. Rather than seeing opportunity, 20 percent of respondents view older workers as a competitive disadvantage, and in countries such as Singapore, the Netherlands, and Russia, this percentage is far higher. In fact, 15 percent of respondents believed that older employees are “an impediment to rising talent” by getting in the way of up-and-coming younger workers.

Based on these findings and our anecdotal observations, we believe there may be a significant hidden problem of age bias in the workforce today. Left unaddressed, perceptions that a company’s culture and employment practices suffer from age bias could damage its brand and social capital.

Age discrimination is already becoming a mainstream diversity issue and liability concern. More than 21,000 age discrimination complaints were filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016.19 The problem is particularly acute in Silicon Valley’s technology industry, where older software engineers are often pushed to take lower-paying jobs or look for work outside Silicon Valley because of the emphasis on the “youth culture.”20

The demographic math is undeniable: As national populations age, challenges related to engaging and managing the older workforce will intensify. Companies that ignore or resist them may not only incur reputational damage and possible liabilities, but also risk falling behind those organizations that succeed in turning longevity into a competitive advantage.

The bottom line

Staying competitive in a world of unprecedented longevity demands that organizations adopt new strategies to engage with older talent. Traditional assumptions—that learning ends in one’s 20s, career progression ends in the 40s, and work ends in the 60s—are no longer accurate or sustainable. Rethinking workforce strategies across multiple generations to account for longer lives will require open minds and fresh approaches.

What role does the C-suite play in capitalizing on longevity? How can individuals adjust?

Workers and job seekers aged over 45 will be eligible for training programs to ensure they have the skills necessary to stay in the labour market for as long as they want instead of winding up on the unemployment scrapheap.

As part of the government’s baby boomers package, it will allocate $189.7 million over five years to assist mature-age workers adapt to the changing needs of the economy.

The bulk of the funding, $136.4 million over four years beginning in financial year 2019, will be available as targeted training for registered jobseekers to develop digital skills, enhance their employability and to identify job opportunities in local labour markets.

A Skills and Training Incentive, costing $19.3 million over three years, will provide as much as $2000 for workers aged 45 – 70 at risk of being made redundant through technological or economic change to undertake reskilling or upskilling. The worker or employer will have to match the funding.

A separate $15.2 million program – the Job Change Initiative – will be set up to outline career options for mature-age workers who are considering early retirement or facing redundancy.

The government will expand its Entrepreneurship Facilitators program, which promotes self-employment, to 20 additional locations at a cost of $17.7 million.

Recruiting and retraining

Incentives to hire a worker aged over 50 will be increased modestly by $1.1 million to provide additional wage subsidies for employers worth up to $10,000.

As part of the effort to keep Australians employed longer, workers will be able to undertake an online skills checkpoint when aged between 45 and 65 to provide advice to building their careers or transitioning to new industries.

As well as looking at workers’ employment history and qualifications, the checkpoint will look at their involvement in the community, such as volunteering, to see whether those skills would translate to a new career path.

By targeting workers aged in their late 40s, the hope is they will receive assistance to prolong their careers before running the risk of retrenchment, seniors advocates argue.

The government has flagged a need to drive cultural change and stop discrimination against older workers, promising to develop strategies in conjunction with business and seniors lobby groups.

“The government understands the importance of working with employers to ensure they understand the benefits of recruiting and retaining mature age people,” Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash said.

“We also need to support Australians most affected by our transitioning economy by providing opportunities for them to acquire the skills that will equip them for future opportunities and jobs.”

Source: www.afr.com.au

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