Posts Tagged “experience matters”

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Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner is concerned older workers may be targeted in public sector job cuts.

The number of age discrimination complaints to the commission are second only to disability complaints.

Commissioner Robin Banks said many older workers were complaining they felt under pressure to retire early.

“People feel they’re not getting the same opportunities in recruitment, but also… once they’re in jobs if the economy is tighter, as it is at the moment, they feel like they’re more likely to be approached about redundancy or early retirement,” she said.

She added they also felt they were often viewed as less capable of learning new skills, such as technology changes.

“So they are being overlooked for training and sometimes promotional opportunities,” Ms Banks said.

The state’s public sector is set to lose 1,200 positions because of budget cuts.

Ms Banks said she feared older public servants may bear the brunt of the cuts.

“There have been times in the past where the way in which budget savings at the Government level have been framed is in relation to older workers,” she said.

She said she would be surprised if that did not happen again.

“I would think that in some parts of the service there will be approaches made to older workers to encourage them to take up the possibility of redundancy,” she said.

A State Government spokesman said the commissioner’s claims about older workers being targeted in public sector cuts were false and without foundation.

Attitudes need to shift with ageing workforce

The national Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, is trying to change attitudes towards older workers.

The majority of complaints received by the commission also relate to age discrimination in the workforce.

Earlier this year it launched an advertising campaign called the Power of Oldness.

Sue Leitch from Tasmania’s Council on the Ageing said with the Federal Government wanting to raise the retirement age to 70, attitudes definitely needed to shift.

“I think we have to have a serious think about what that will mean,” she said.

“Are the jobs suitable, is there a way of transferring all the wonderful knowledge that these older workers have onto younger people.”

Topics: older-peoplediscriminationlaunceston-7250hobart-7000

Source ABC News

13:40:PM 17/10/2014
Virginia Trioli

 

 

Virginia Trioli.

Virginia Trioli.

 

 

 

It was such a lovely card – how thoughtful of a viewer to send me a note! Flowers and fruit adorned the front, and the cheeriest of greetings kicked off the epistle – “Hi Virginia!” Then it went on, travelling down a one way-road I’d been booked on many, many times before.

 

 

“I watch you every morning … and felt I had to write as I feel you are definately (sic) in need of a makeover.

 

 

“First, please get your hair cut short and get rid of those straggly bits around your neck, and maybe a few highlights!!!

 

 

“Next, the glasses – ugh! Go for LIGHT coloured frames as with your dark eyes black makes you look ‘owlish’. You will be very pleasantly surprised!

 

 

“Next, the clothes: get rid of blacks and browns, very ageing. Take notice of the other newsreaders (female) – light and bright is the go! Dare I say, did you obtain your clothes from charity shops?

 

 

“This letter is NOT meant to insult you but so that you look 40 not 60.

 

 

“Good luck, looking forward to seeing a NEW VIRGINIA.”

 

 

It says a great deal about the nature of my correspondence as a woman on television that this letter really was nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve received many such missives and these notes are read and discarded, along with the anti-Semitic rants written in block capitals and UNDERLINING, the long tracts alleging international banking conspiracies, and the regular Herald Sun frothings by Andrew Bolt.

 

 

As I have in the past, I shared it on Twitter and thought nothing more. When you’re half Italian, a Leo and raised by a strong mother, it takes a hell of a lot to shake your sense of self. I also happen to know exactly what’s in my wardrobe. And the shameful amount of money I’ve spent on it. Enough said.

 

 

But that wasn’t the end of the matter: it went, as they say, viral, and all day long the howls of outrage echoed across Twitter and the wider media. It was only after the matter started to be reported in the US that I realised what kind of nerve this had touched. Then The Atlanta Journal Constitution made this mild remark: “Working in the Australian media industry is particularly tough on women, who are more often judged on their fashion sense than their news reporting capabilities.”

 

 

That’s how they see us? A backward nation of boors intent on making women in television a bunch of dolly birds? It didn’t, and doesn’t, square with the substantial number of women I know and admire who work in TV. But the Journal had hit on a key difference between the nations, and my letter-writer had unwittingly done the same.

 

 

Because the point of this letter was not fashion, or style, or even attractiveness – it was the problem of age, and that is the greatest failing of all: my critic wrote so that I might “look 40 not 60”.

 

 

But one day, with luck, I will be 60, and if I don’t fall victim to vanity and cosmetic surgery, I might even look 60. I will be nowhere near retirement and nowhere near ready to give up work. Nonetheless I will still hope to have a meaningful career, perhaps still on TV.

 

 

Is that an impossible aspiration in Australia, when looking 60 is such an abhorrent thought?

 

 

The American experience cuts a great contrast to us, where women such as Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer and Christiane Amanpour have enjoyed long and illustrious careers in the public eye even as they age. But the mere appearance of ageing in a woman on Australian TV is enough to have most executives yanking her off air and replacing her with someone younger.

 

 

This is going to be an interesting challenge. Will a craggy-faced women be as acceptable to you on the box as, say, a craggy-faced Barrie Cassidy is? (Said with love, Barrie.) I am lucky to be part of a formidable generation of women journalists, at the ABC and the commercial stations, who are all going to become wiser, better and older in front of your eyes: you OK with that?

 

Speaking out: Ros Altmann iscalling for an end to ageism in theworkplace

Speaking out: Ros Altmann iscalling for an end to ageism in the workplace

The pensions revolution being driven by Chancellor George Osborne has been hailed as giving new freedoms to people over their own money. But it has also been met with a rash of criticism, most notably that giving people access to their pension pots will encourage imprudent spending and expose them to the danger of being mis-sold financial plans.

Ros Altmann, former director-general of Saga and the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, laughs when asked about these risks.

Altmann, a career woman of 58, is herself slap bang in the age group for which she has become Britain’s de facto spokeswoman. She is adamant that the reforms are good news and implies that sceptics are showing a lack of respect for ordinary people.

‘There is a risk that people will be enticed to spend their pension, but I trust that people are responsible enough to keep the fund until they need it, rather than just falling for a con person with a get-rich-quick scheme,’ she says.

The concerns over the pension reforms (see box, below) have been widely voiced in the City. Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at leading financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘The Chancellor appears to be creating the perfect environment for a mis-selling scandal.’

Altmann, speaking after a meeting with the Treasury to discuss the reforms, insists they are a response to mis-selling, rather than a likely cause of more.

‘People forget mis-selling has already been happening and it’s widespread. The pensions industry has been selling people inappropriate products for a long time. People had not been educated enough to understand what they were doing when they bought annuities,’ she said.

The sale of annuities, in which the buyer exchanges their pot of money for guaranteed annual income for life, has led to a raft of scandals.Many pensioners are thought to have been sold poor rates of income.

Altmann’s talks with the Treasury have focused on the guidance and advice that will be made available alongside the new freedoms and she is confident they will get it right. ‘The Government is putting a system in place to educate people, and this guidance is not being driven by people trying to sell something,’ she says.

Meanwhile, as an adviser on the over-50s, she is trying to promote the idea that continuing to work is better than retirement. She says: ‘The retirement dream is about stopping one day, waking up and having no work. For many people that ends up as a nightmare, but it’s too late.’

And she warns that ageism in the workplace will spell economic decline. Her contention that workers are being ‘written off’ as soon as they reach their 50s comes after figures revealed that record-breaking numbers of older workers were fuelling the self-employment boom.

The number of self-employed people aged 65 and over has doubled to 428,000, in the past five years, while the income of self-employed workers has fallen to an average £207 a week, compared with £300 a week ten years ago.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, has said: ‘The figures nail the myth perpetuated by Ministers that the UK’s new self-employed workers are all young entrepreneurs. In fact, almost half are over 50.’

Altmann says: ‘Recruitment agencies don’t take you seriously, employers don’t take you seriously. If you’re in your 50s, job centres are saying, “Well, at your age, love, maybe you should retire”. They’re busy focusing on the young.

‘All across the western world, given the demographics, this is a recipe for economic decline. We’ve got an economic boost that we’re not using.

‘What is so in need of reform is that, for most people, how and when you retire isn’t a personal choice. It is something that happens to you because of other circumstances.

‘We can do better than that. Even if people want to keep on or get back into work, very often they can’t. That’s a waste. There’s still so much ageism in the workplace. The anecdotal evidence is that as soon as you reach your 50s you are considered “past it”.

‘I think it’s a carry-over from the olden days in the 1950s, 1960s even, maybe, the 1970s, when the predominant work was quite heavy manual labour. Most people in their 50s and 60s were brought up with the idea that 60 or 65 was the magic age and you didn’t work after that. It’s only as they get there that they realise that isn’t how it needs to be.

‘Employment has always been geared to that, pensions have been geared to that, and therefore employment attitudes are also geared for that.

‘Most human resources people are quite young and if they are told that someone in their 50s or 60s is old and that we need to focus on hiring the bright young things, that is who is valued, irrespective of your talent.

‘There is also a concern, which is a hangover from the final-salary pension-scheme days, that you’re much more expensive to employ. Now there’s a different mind set. People don’t mind taking less if they’re working less, or if they’re doing a different job that gives them better work-life balance.

Altmann also debunks the myth that if an older worker keeps their job, a younger one cannot get work. ‘That is an economic nonsense,’ she says. ‘I’ve got studies that show that a higher employment rate for older people is associated with a higher rate for younger people.

‘It makes sense that if there are more older than younger people and they are not working, and haven’t got huge incomes, they can’t spend that much any more. Over time, that means both young people and older people lose out.’

Altmann, who has three children and lives in North London, began her career in banking and has worked at the former US Group Chase Manhattan, Rothschild and NatWest, before Saga.

Naturally, she has no plans to retire yet and could be talking about herself when she says: ‘If you’re relatively healthy and relatively fit and don’t want to stop work, why would you expect someone to just write themselves off?’

How sweeping reforms hand freedom back to savers 

Chancellor George Osborne announced sweeping reforms to the way Britons can take private pensions in his April Budget this year.

For the first time all savers will no longer need to buy an annuity with their pension pots.

Instead of being allowed to take just 25 per cent of the pot as a lump sum on retirement and purchase an ‘income for life’ with the remainder, from April next year they will be able to withdraw the entire sum at the age of 55 and do with it as they wish.

As is the case now 25 per cent can be taken tax-free, with the rest counting as taxable income.

The 55 per cent ‘death tax’ on pension pots has also been axed, allowing pensions to be passed on tax-free in some cases.

Osborne said: ‘People who have worked all their lives should be free to choose what they do with their money, and that freedom is central to our long-term economic plan.

‘From next year they’ll be able to access as much or as little of their defined contribution pension as they want and pass on their hard-earned pensions to their families tax-free.’

Pensions Minister Steve Webb has said: ‘If people do get a Lamborghini, and end up on the state pension, the state is much less concerned about that, and that is their choice.’

Simon Laight, of law firm Pinsent Masons, has said: ‘The Government wants the pensions industry to deliver low-cost flexibility.

‘For that you need scale. We will see a “land grab” as providers rush to develop new pensions and capture market share.’

A survey by Fidelity Worldwide Investment of 500 investors retiring in the first year of the new pension freedoms found nearly half had not begun to assess their options.

 

Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2798404/pm-s-pension-guru-ros-altmann-backs-older-workers-gives-warning-retirement-turn-nightmare-let-work-want-to.html#ixzz3GXnzxWzV
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The Straits Times

Professor Ursula Staudinger, who heads a centre dedicated to research on ageing at Columbia University, says old age and productivity are compatible but only if mindsets are changed so older people are motivated to continue working.
 

Rosa Finnegan loved sharing jokes, giggled like a young girl and went to work every day in Needham, the small Massachusetts town she called home. When she finally retired late last year, the snowy haired great-grandmother of three was 101.

Born in 1912, the year the Titanic sank, Mrs Finnegan died in June this year, four months after celebrating her 102nd birthday.

She may have been old, but she was certainly not the odd one out at her company, Vita Needle. The average age of workers there is 74.

But the family-run business which manufactures needles and steel pipes is no social enterprise, says Professor Ursula Staudinger, who heads a centre dedicated to research on ageing at Columbia University in New York. “This is a profitable company that has discovered the value of older workers.”

Vita Needle’s success, in many ways, reflects the findings of numerous research studies that show that human beings can remain productive and engaged right till the end of their lives, says the distinguished professor of psychology who has spent more than a decade leading inter-disciplinary research on the productive potential of human ageing.

“Old age and productivity can indeed go very well together,” Prof Staudinger told The Sunday Times. She was in Singapore at the invitation of the Tsao Foundation to deliver the charity’s annual lecture last Thursday on the opportunities presented by ageing.

In a field dominated by negative narratives – think the proverbial silver tsunami – the psychologist’s message is one of hope and promise. “We are not only living longer, but we are also healthier than ever before,” she says. “Rather than fret about ageing, we must realise that we have this enormous gift of a longer life. And we must use it well.”

An ageing population and fewer children will mean lower productivity only “if we continue doing things the way we have been in the past” by keeping labour market regulations and retirement age unchanged, for instance.

However, if people are encouraged to spend longer working lives, not necessarily in continuous employment, but with breaks for periods of further education and tending to family needs, then it is possible to be economically productive way past 70.

Companies and countries alike must begin to focus on “qualitative growth”, rather than “quantitative growth”, says Prof Staudinger.

She was born and raised in Germany which, barring Japan and Italy, has the highest proportion of older people in the world, with a fifth of its population aged 65 and above. Singapore’s elderly population is set to nearly triple in 20 years, a feat that took Europe a century to achieve.

“By qualitative growth, I mean we must intensify the investment in each individual, we bring the health and educational level up and we change the labour market qualitatively so that people are motivated to work – and maintain their productivity.”

This, she notes, is very different from a worker being forced to work because he cannot afford to retire.

Her research on ageing in the workplace has provided valuable insights into what makes older workers tick.

A study that looked at assembly-line workers at a car factory in Germany showed that workers who changed tasks at least three times over 16 years tended to function better cognitively than colleagues who did not, other things remaining equal.

“You have to have enough variability in what you do. The simpler the job, the more frequent these changes have to be.”

A crucial determinant of productivity is the mindset of the company, and especially of supervisors.

“If everyone believes these workers are less productive and this is reinforced by supervisors and company leaders, then this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the end, the older worker believes what everyone else believes. If you are not entrusted, if you are not challenged, you will not live up to the challenge,” she says.

Incentives from the state and changes in labour laws to keep the current cohort of older workers employable are one way forward, says Prof Staudinger, noting that the Singapore Government has taken several steps in this direction.

It is subsidising the wage bills of companies that hire older workers and announced earlier this month that, from next year, eligible public servants will be offered re-employment till they turn 67.

When they reach the statutory retirement age of 62, eligible workers are already offered re-employment up to the age of 65 under the Retirement and Re-employment Act which came into force in 2012.

However, current rehiring laws in Singapore give companies the option to reduce a worker’s pay when they are rehired.

Prof Staudinger warns that care must be taken to see that state support does not end up being used against the interests of workers themselves.

In Europe, state incentives to companies that hire and retain older workers are tied to criteria that ensure the workers are not discriminated against. For instance, companies are required to pay older workers the same wage they would pay a younger worker for the same job. And strict minimum wage laws ensure older workers are not exploited as cheap labour.

“While crafting laws, you have to anticipate misuse and devise ways to avoid it.”

radhab@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 12, 2014.

 

October 12, 2014
boomer bikies

Here’s a radical thought: what if Australia’s ageing population was a boon not a burden? What if greying baby boomers spelt opportunity not crisis?  The media, politicians, and Treasury have depicted the ageing population as a demographic time bomb. Too many old people and a shrinking workforce will be the country’s ruination. As the politically powerful and needy old squeeze the young dry, the result will be endless government deficits, higher taxes and lower productivity. It’s enough to make retiring baby boomers feel guilty for hoping to reach 80.

But increasingly other voices are pressing a positive view. Instead of fearing longer lives, we should be celebrating the longevity achievement as one of the greatest of modern times. Instead of regarding ageing as a period of decline, decay and dependency, we should positively embrace the ageing society. The Blueprint for an Ageing Australia is a recent report to argue this line. It says we debate the ‘challenges’ of an ageing population “as though ageing was something to be feared and shunned. We talk about the costs and burdens of ageing. This perception is misguided.” Instead, it says, we could “choose to see longer lives as a social and economic good.”

I’ve taken a while to be persuaded to this positive point of view. The growing costs of aged care, superannuation tax concessions, pensions, and especially health care are realand need to be addressed. The cost of treating dementia alone is estimated to be $83 billion by 2060. The growing inequality among older Australians is another cause of concern.

When the number of people over 65 rises from 3.1 million to 5.7 million over the 20 years to 2031 it will represent a significant shift. Australians over 65 will make up 18.7 per cent of our population compared to around 14 per cent today. The ageing population is a force that will re-shape Australia. And the wealthier elderly may have to accept some loss of government benefits in the name of fairness and revenue-raising.

But do we have to scared, very scared of this eventuality? Do we have to ring the alarm bells, and raise the pension age to 70? An ageing society creates opportunities. It’s not all about costs. And it’s time we framed the debate about the future in a more positive way. “The best way to approach it is to look for ways that older Australians can participate more effectively in our society and our economy to the best of their abilities,” the Blueprint says.

Let’s have a look at some of the opportunities. Business opportunities abound. If entrepreneurs took off their blinkers, they would see the over-60s not as an unfashionable demographic but a desirable one. It’s no secret older people have spending power. Baby boomers spend a lot on travel, recreation and culture. If you’re not rich enough to bankroll your adult children into housing, you might as well pamper yourself. The age group 50-69 alone holds more than 40 per cent of the nation’s wealth. It’s a market segment crying out for entrepreneurial attention. From dating websites, to longevity insurance, from IT products to toothpaste that promises healthy gums, and reverse parking systems that help drivers with bad necks, the possibilities are endless. It’s not just about incontinence pads, and devices of the “I’ve-fallen-and-can’t-get-up” variety that are needed. That’s the old business of old age. The new business involves technologies that promote mobility, autonomy and social connection.

Another area of opportunity is philanthropy. Many older people have considerable capacity to give more, and giving tends to increase with age. They should be assisted and encouraged to do so. “Giving provides a great way for older Australians to demonstrate that ageing isn’t a cost to society,” the Blueprint says. It recommends banks launch a “golden givers” campaign to encourage older clients to establish charitable trusts and foundations while offering services to manage the funds.

Other Australian voices also argue for a more positive approach. Patricia Edgar, author of In Praise of Ageing, says the productivity of older people is written out of the country’s GDP because we don’t include the value of the caring, voluntary and creative work they do. In this way the “dependence” of older people is exaggerated, and their economic contribution downplayed. “Our assumptions about the burden of the aged, the dependency ratio and the future workforce are riven with inaccuracy,” she says.

The Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, urges against “scrabbling round for a few sticks to beat our older citizens with.” At the same time she’s clear-eyed about the changes needed to embrace an ageing society. In her recent address to the National Press Club, titled Longevity Revolution – Crisis or Opportunity, she highlights the need for older people to stay in the workforce longer for their sake and the country’s. A further three per cent increase in workforce participation amongst workers aged 55 and over would contribute an extra $33 billion to the nation’s GDP – a sum to gladden the hearts of Treasurers, and young taxpayers alike.

But raising the pension age won’t achieve this. It will require a different mindset towards older workers, more flexible workplaces, an end to ageism, and more help for mid-career workers to plan for the long-term. The debate about the ageing society has used too many scare tactics. To embrace the opportunities we need a positive agenda: how can we best harness the talents, money, and willingness to work of older Australians without making them feel guilty for being alive?

 

Source:  Adele Horin:  Coming of Age

Training for an unemployed older jobseeker can be tricky. Judy Higgins of OlderWorkers.com.au provides her top tips on how the right training can help you find employment or start a whole new career.

Often if unemployed older jobseekers are lucky enough to get an interview, they are told ‘you are overqualified’, and on that basis why would you waste the time, effort and money to train. Right? Not necessarily. There are instances where training can assist you into employment.

Train into a job

Some organisations in specific skill shortage industries – aged care for instance – develop and set up their own training organisations, recruit participants from the local area, train them and place them into jobs within their organisation. This system works well for everyone. The organisation has local, trained staff and the training often leads to a job for participants. Check out your local papers or local employer websites – they often advertise for participants.

Refresh and update your skills

If you have been out of work for any length of time, it’s useful to train and update your skills. Keeping your skills relevant also addresses the myth that older workers don’t want to undertake training, and shows any prospective employer that you are keen to learn, and have made an effort to do so. This is particularly appropriate if you have been with your last employer for quite a long time; chances are you are trained to suit their way of doing things, so a generic skills update could prove very useful.

Train for a change of career

Some industries are contracting in terms of numbers of workers required – for instance the car industry, print journalism, public service (administration, policy and program/project staff). If you are coming out of such an industry then it is wise to look at training for a change of career. Take the time to do some research and find out what the growth industries are in your area. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce site and the Local Government or Council site – they often provide information on developing local industries.

Train to be self-employed

If you have received a redundancy, you may consider training in a specific area that enables you to become self-employed. You can purchase a franchise, set up a business or simply contract out your new-found skills. The word ‘seniorpreneur’ has been created due to the number of older people turning into entrepreneurs. Self-employment is a good option for some.

The old adage ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ has never been further from the truth. More and more training organisations are seeing older people in their classes. Is it something you should consider?

 

Source: https://www.mynrma.com.au/living-well-navigator/work-volunteering-blogs/training-to-boost-your-career.htm

A new study reveals the next generation of bosses will be different to the last.

baby boomer bosses

Baby boomer bosses are very traditional.

Think the boss of the future is going to be made in the model of the traditional and decisive baby boomer?

Think again.

While baby boomers have honed their skills in long-term thinking and motivating staff, Gen X and Y are doing things differently, a new report reveals.

A new report called The Great Generational Shift by recruitment firm Hudson analysed the leadership traits of 28,000 professionals globally, finding significant generational differences.

• Why Gen Y ‘slackers’ make good employees
• It’s over! Here’s how to break up with your boss
• Why coding is the new literacy

This comes as Generation Z enters the workplace, baby boomers begin to retire, and Gen X and Y step up.

The report paints a not-entirely favourable picture of some boomer bosses. While the benefits of greater experience cannot be understated, it says some boomer leaders have lower technical ability and fewer creative skills compared to the younger generations. Nearing the end of their career, they can also be less ambitious.

Hudson’s Regional Assessment Solutions Manager Dr Crissa Sumner says the new generations of leaders have a greater focus on the short-term, and are likely to lead by example. Both X and Y have strong people skills more likely to explain and relate than to persuade staff.

“We’ll see their strengths in conceptual and abstract thinking; their ability to connect the dots for others in the workplace and provide those meaningful insights for team members,” Dr Sumner says.

Developing in the fast moving digital age, Gen Y skills in particular are “potentially more relevant” for today’s business environment.


colleagues fighting

Defining a leader by generation

Baby boomer: Traditional leaders, decisive, motivating, persuasive and strategic
Generation X: Socially progressive, change-oriented and culturally sensitive
Generation Y: Abstract thinkers, meticulous, ambitious, socially confident


Dr Sumner says the research has dispelled many of the popular cliches around this generation of workers who rather than being lazy or self-centered and ambitious and people-oriented.

“What an organisation can expect is that Gen Y are likely to be leaders who are more visionary ‘thought’ leaders and role models,” she says.

“I think you can see the data links to what we are seeing in changes in the external environment, nowadays leaders don’t have to influence by information and facts, employees can get all that at their fingertips, they need someone to help them understand that data.”

In practice this means they are less hands-on and unlikely to micro-manage.

“We are seeing that Gen Y are less strategic,” Dr Sumner says.

“They are likely to keep the short-term and immediate needs as well as longer-term goals and that’s probably appropriate for today’s environment.”

But that doesn’t mean the baby boomers should be pushed out the door.

Dr Sumner says their traditional skills are going to continue to be essential for businesses.

Both Gen X and Y were lacking in these, with boomers continuing to have more power and influence over others.

Shutterstock

“I think organisations are going to have to pair up boomers and Gen Y before those skills are lost,” Dr Sumner says.

Stuck in the middle, Gen X is the most socially progressive generation. Dr Sumner says it is the one who can smooth over relationships between the ambitious Gen Ys and the traditional boomers.

This is the most altruistic generation of leaders which the report describes as natural diplomats who are “wired, self-reliant” and “autonomous” leaders.

Generation clash: how to cope

Clashes between generations are not new. Boomers are found to be judgemental of younger generations, particularly around their work ethics, while Gen Y can be critical of out-of touch older workers.

The report says boomers will need to adjust expectations, Generation X will have to step up and use their diplomatic powers, and Generation Y will learn from the established skills of older workers.

“More than ever before, it is imperative that organisations understand the profound psychological differences in how the various generations think, act and lead,” says Simon Moylan, Hudson Executive General Manager of Talent Management – Asia-Pacific.

“Organisations need to understand what it is that motivates their employees and connect the dots between the motivational drivers of those in different ages and stages.”

Mr Moylan warns companies will also need to work out which are the best leaders, and skills, to take them into the future.

How to approach a boss from generation…

Baby boomer: recognise they are going to be more strategic, so you might need to talk longer-term as they may not pay as much attention to the short-term.

Gen X: this generation has a more flexible profile, so be open.

Gen Y: they have a preference for conceptual thinking, so talk big picture, don’t get down to the nitty gritty because you’ll lose them.

Gen Z: we don’t know anything about this generation yet, so be open-minded and don’t make assumptions.

 

Source:  The New Daily

Age Discrimination Starts Early!

These Strategies Can Help.

numbersWhile finishing her MBA at a top tier university, Sarah was enthusiastically recruited by a large company. She accepted their offer to join the marketing department. Once there, she connected with a powerful mentor who helped her snag plum assignments. For several years Sarah was the most junior professional in her group, and she enjoyed being treated like a young star.

After a few years, the growing company made a wave of new hires and Sarah began to feel neglected. She said she was stuck with routine workwhile the interesting new projects went to her younger colleagues.

Sarah was asked to supervise the internship program, but didn’t enjoy the work. She said the interns didn’t have the right work ethic and were obsessed by technology. One day as she entered the kitchen, she heard them making fun of her for being clueless about the power of social media.

When Sarah came to me for coaching, she complained that she was past her career peak. She felt like she was cut off from the company’s high potential challenges and might be too old to compete for another good job elsewhere. Sarah was 34 at the time.

Sarah felt she was the victim of age discrimination and to some degree her concerns were well founded. Ageism is rampant in the workplace and can be hard to fight. And even 30-something careerists like Sarah can find themselves sidelined by employers seeking fresh talent.

Sarah found ways to demonstrate her energy, talent and enthusiasm, and soon worked her way out of her slump. One thing that helped her was finding examples of older professionals whose age did need not seem to limit their success. She noticed that while some in her circle were dissed for being out of date, others seemed timeless despite their years.

If you’re facing a subtle age bias, a starting point for getting past it is to understand the negative stereotypes on which it’s based. Then make it clear that the stereotypes don’t fit you. Consider these strategies for minimizing the burden of ageism:

  •  Be tech-savvy. You don’t have to enjoy Skyping, sharing on Instagram or building a Twitter community. But if those are the ways that your colleagues or customers communicate, you absolutely must know how to join in. If you want to stay in the game, keep up with the technology. Take classes or find help, buy the devices, and do whatever it takes to keep your skills current.   And when you don’t understand the latest developments, avoid the temptation to indulge in a Luddite rant. Express an interest, ask for assistance and get on board.
  • Look and act fit. Some employers and younger workers believe that their older colleagues may have physical limitations that will prevent them from performing their fair share of the work. And your boss or clients won’t offer you new challenges if they think you are about to have a heart attack. If you want to maximize your career options, it is vital not only that you stay healthy but also that you look healthy and you exude energy.
  • Talk healthy. Most of us have health issues from time to time, but we can manage the way they impact us in the workplace. Beware of sabotaging yourself by talking too much about your symptoms or crises. If you endlessly discuss your health challenges, not only will you be boring, but people may start to think of you as frail and over the hill. Talk about the great hike you took last weekend, instead of how sore you felt on Monday morning.
  • Be stylish. Looking shabby may seem cool when you’re 27. But the older you get, the more important it is to look polished and up to date. If your clothes, hairdo or glasses seem out of style, you may seem like you are past your prime. That doesn’t mean you should dress like a kid, but you should aim for a look that feels current.
  • Don’t bring up your age. If you are older – or younger – than the people you work with, it is very tempting to keep mentioning that fact.   But if you can refrain from alluding to the age difference, there is a good chance that other people will forget about it.
  • Build a varied network. If you are accustomed to hanging out with friends of all ages, you are more likely to blend easily into a group of younger or older people. If you don’t allow age to be a barrier in your social life, you will be more comfortable talking and keeping up with different age groups at work.
  • Listen to your colleagues. A great starting point for building strong relationships at work is to genuinely listen to what other people have to say. If you’re part of the older set, show an interest in what younger folks say and learn from their perspective.

If you put aside your own prejudices about age and look for opportunities to work on projects with people of all generations, you’ll become more skillful at avoiding the burden of age bias.

More incentives for first movers on higher rehiring age

THE Government has accepted the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers to raise the age ceiling for the re-employment of older workers to 67 from 65. This will be done through promotional means supported by incentives.

The idea is to give companies more time to prepare for this before legislation kicks in. The legislation will be introduced at an “appropriate time”.

The PAP Seniors’ Group (PAP.SG) welcomes this move, which is a progressive step and will help to boost the employment prospects of our older workers.

The Government has moved to bolster the position of our seniors in health care and housing through its recent policy changes, and it makes great sense now to focus on employment. This is an important way of ensuring that our seniors remain independent and can continue to live with dignity. To be able to work for as long as they wish to and earn a steady stream of income is greatly empowering for our seniors.

Raising the rehiring age to 67 is not just good for the individual. It also makes great economic sense. It is projected that by 2030, there will be 900,000 people aged 65 years and above. If our total fertility rate remains at 1.2 and we have no immigration, there will be only 2.1 working age citizens for every citizen above the age of 65 in 2030. If we do not extend the productive working age of our older workers, our growth will be affected.

Companies, too, benefit, and much has been said about the value of older workers. In a survey conducted last year by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices, the majority of the companies which responded agreed that mature workers benefited them through lower turnover rates and reduced absenteeism.

While promotional means is a practical solution to give employers more time to adjust, I do hope that the Government will not take too long to legislate the extension.

I have no doubt that the unions will be able to push through the extension among unionised companies, but the worry will be the non-unionised companies, where this may not be a priority. To some extent, the proposed incentives may help and are a good move, as most employers have cited costs as a concern, but the question is whether this will provide enough push for companies to voluntarily raise the ceiling.

I also hope that incentives will not have the unintended consequence of devaluing the contribution of older workers, particularly for those who would be re-employed in any case because their services are needed.

Nevertheless, to really ensure that the incentives have an impact, the Government could consider introducing a sliding scale of benefits, whereby those who come on board earlier are given more incentives compared to those who respond later. In this way, hopefully, most companies would be encouraged to raise the rehiring age ceiling faster.

According to employers, they need more time to redesign jobs and work processes and to retrain older workers. I find this surprising as such measures should already have been put in place when the rehiring age ceiling was raised to 65. There cannot be that many major changes that have to be made for the working age to be increased by just an additional two years.

Also, employers’ concern about medical costs should, to a large extent, be addressed by MediShield Life that comes into effect next year, as a larger portion of hospitalisation charges will be covered. Hence, prudent employers may want to rationalise their own medical benefits scheme with MediShield Life, to address this concern.

The training of older workers is another major area in ensuring that their skills remain relevant and useful to companies’ needs. There are now already available training grants and programmes that companies can tap to prepare their older workers, so that lack of skills should not be an excuse. The tripartite partners could also do a lot more to highlight positive examples of enlightened companies that have voluntarily raised the rehiring ceiling, even without any incentives.

One example is Prima. A few years ago, I officiated at an event where the company gave out long service awards to its employees. There were employees who had served the company for more than 40 years and were in their 70s. It felt really good to see a company that values its workers so much.

In August last year, Prima signed a collective agreement with the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers’ Union to offer 65-year-old workers, with satisfactory performance and good health, employment contracts until age 68.

I urge more companies to emulate Prima’s example and waste no time in raising the rehiring age ceiling of their older workers. I am heartened, too, by the public sector’s positive response to the recommendation, as its hiring practices have a deep impact on the private sector.

Finally, we need to address the concerns of older workers who have lost their jobs and are trying to get back into the workforce, which the recommendation will not cover. Among their biggest hurdles in seeking employment are hiring practices that are still biased against them. Employers should be prepared to give them a chance, rather than turn them away just because of their age.

I would like to suggest that companies hiring unemployed older workers be given incentives too, and not only those who raise the rehiring age ceiling of existing workers. It would also be useful to conduct a study on the hiring practices of companies to ascertain whether this bias really exists or whether there are other valid factors involved that affect the hiring of older workers. In this way, more effective strategies could be developed to boost older workers’ chances of securing a job.

The tripartite partners have made a good move. The challenge now is to make sure that the recommendation works.

The writer is the Speaker of Parliament and chairman of the PAP Seniors’ Group.

stopinion@sph.com.sg

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A new generation of retirees is heading back to work. Here’s some advice on how to snag one of those encore jobs

Encore! Encore! One more time.

That’s what many retired Canadians want to do: Go back to work, try something new, perhaps with fewer hours and less pay, but find a way to keep active, stay engaged and get paid for it.

Longevity is rising, we’re healthier and so the traditional notion of retirement has faded. Some want to work because they have to and others because they want to.

But if our needs are changing, our employers aren’t keeping up with the times, says Adina Lebo, chair of the downtown Toronto chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP). Attitudes in the workplace are geared to forcing older workers out of full-time work and few employers have mechanisms to offer a transition to part-time work.

“The workforce is built to push people out at 65,” says Lebo, who joined CARP four years ago after a 30-year career in the film and TV industry. “While people are looking for a continuation of their career, or a way to apply their skills in a new area, the doors are often closed.”

CARP sponsored a job fair in Toronto last year to link employers with 50+ candidates. There was plenty of interest from companies with franchising and sales opportunities. The former requires an investment on your part and the latter uses your networks to sell products or services.

“There’s no ageism in sales,” says Lebo. “It’s on commission, so there’s no risk to the employer. They use you and your community to sell, so that was wide open.”

There are jobs out there for older works, but competition is stiff. For many, the first step is dusting off their resumes and polishing rusty interview skills.

Marie Bountrogianni, a former Ontario cabinet minister and currently Dean of the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, has some advice. Here are her five top job hunting tips for older workers.

Three things to avoid in an interview:

Talking about your age: “This is always tricky,” says Bountrogianni, who has a Ph.D. in education and was chief psychologist for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board before entering politics.

“Employers are not allowed to ask about your age, but they often hint at it. Talk around your age in constructive ways. [For example,] you can indicate that because you no longer have little children you have a lot of flexibility around scheduling.

Tipping your tech hand: “Be careful. Don’t just say you use Facebook and Twitter. Show how you have used social media to increase sales, or promote an event, so they won’t think you are on it all the time.”

Don’t say, I’m ready for a change: “While it may be very true, it sounds like you are bored, and have grown stale in your current job,” Bountrogiann says.

Two ways to spruce up your resume:

Age proof it: Don’t go back to the beginning of your career. Choose the experiences that relate to the job you are applying for. Do not put in specific dates for jobs or schooling.

Show what you have done: Use a functional, rather than chronological resume, so that you can bundle your experiences without dating them and relate skills to the job advertised.

Bountrogianni says employers want to know you’re not planning to coast at their expense.

They also want to know you are still current, so she advises taking courses in your field of interest and keeping up to date. Always have questions in an interview, because employers want you to be interested in them and about their job.

Bountrogianni is Ontario’s representative on Skills Connect Inc., a national non-profit organization founded by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce in 2010. It receives government funding and owns ThirdQuarter, a national employment recruiter for people aged 45 and over. More agencies are working with older adults, including The Challenge Factory, which has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa.

The Chang School offers programs of interest to 50+ workers. Wednesday, Bountrogianni is hosting a free breakfast between 8:30 and 10:30 as part of a panel discussion on aging in the workforce. It is being held at Heaslip House, 7th Floor, 297 Victoria Street.

Toronto Star