Posts Tagged “jobs for older workers”
Will Brodie Journalist
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.
Have you experienced ageism in the workforce? Do you think JobMaker will disadvantage older workers?
Answer this question: How easy is it for you to strike up a good conversation with your younger colleagues in the office kitchen?
- Older job applicants told they wouldn’t be a “cultural fit” for the role
- Young people are being actively preferenced for tech-heavy roles
- Recruiter says there is a need for older Australians to work on their job skills, but calls for workplace age diversity targets
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.”
Older Australians struggling to make ends meet or looking to boost their quality of life are flooding the national jobs market in record numbers but many are finding their skills and experience unwanted by prospective employers.
Special research into the changing nature of the jobs market reveals people over the age of 65 are the single fastest growing age group securing work, up by 11 per cent over the past 12 months alone.
At the same time, the general workforce has lifted by 3 per cent.
There are now a record 610,000 people 65 or older holding down part or full time work.
But despite the large increase, many older Australians are finding it very difficult to get work with a 39 per cent jump in the number of unemployed over 65s looking to tie down a full time job.
Unemployment across 65-year-olds looking for any type of work has jumped by almost 28 per cent. Across the general population it fell by a full percentage point over the past year.
West Australian workplace diversity expert Conrad Liveris said there were a range of issues that were seeing so many older Australians enter the workforce and then struggle to get the job they wanted.
He said many were returning to work to maintain a decent quality of life, discovering they did not have enough cash stored away for retirement.
This was a generation that did not have compulsory superannuation through their entire working lives and women in particular are at risk of reaching their mid-60s without a large nest egg to see them through retirement.
Mr Liveris said there was also evidence of early retirees who have discovered they missed work and, with demand relatively strong across the jobs market, have gone back for employment
“And also, they’re not dying. Their health is pretty damn good. They are not going anywhere.”
The law is also keeping them in work longer. Last month the age at which a person can access the pension was increased to 66 from 65.5 years.
Older Australians aren’t just flooding into the workforce. They’re also taking on more than one job.
Separate figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that between 2011-12 and 2016-17 the proportion of people holding down more than one job grew by 14 per cent.
But among those over the age of 60, the increase was 18 per cent.
Source: The Age
Skills Checkpoint program can help you to access up to $2,200 to fund suitable education and training options. If you are looking for support and guidance on transitioning into a new role or new career, Skills Checkpoint program can help!
The program is individually tailored to your needs through our free initial career planning session. If you are eligible, you can access up to $2,200 (GST inclusive) to fund suitable education and training options, as outlined in your career plan, to reach your employment goals.
*To participate you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident aged 45 to 70 years old, who is either:
*employed and at risk of unemployment (e.g. those in industries undergoing structural adjustment); or
*unemployed for no more than three consecutive months and not registered for assistance through a government employment services program, (e.g. jobactive).
The Skills Checkpoint program is a joint initiative between the Department of Education and Training, and the Department of Jobs and Small Business.
Skills Checkpoint is available through VERTO in NSW, VIC and the ACT.
To find out more, register your interest today:
In the space of five years, Liz Clifford has lost her husband to cancer, her office job and now her home.
At the age of 60 she finds herself struggling to get by on Newstart unemployment benefits.
“Very disappointed with life,” she told 7.30.
“It wasn’t his fault that he got sick and died, but after losing my job I don’t have the income now to support living here — rates to pay and bills to pay.
“I don’t like to say it’s destroyed my life, but it’s certainly torn it apart.”
Ms Clifford is part of a worrying trend. The number of people aged 55-64 on Newstart has risen by more than 55,000 in less than five years.
“It’s been very difficult. It makes you feel quite worthless actually, like you’ve got no purpose in life,” she said.
“I feel a little bit insulted and I feel like I’ve been punished for being unemployed.”
She lives on about $50 a day and has been forced to sell her and her late husband’s dream home because she can no longer keep up with repayments.
‘I’ve got a lot to offer’
Newstart has not increased in real terms for more than two decades, and the Federal Government is resisting calls to lift the payment.
“Electricity’s not cheap, water rates and house rates aren’t cheap,” Ms Clifford said.
“I get my Centrelink payment every fortnight and that just goes straight onto my credit card.
“Because I’ve used the redraw facility on [the mortgage], it’s gone up but I’ve tried to be very careful with that.”
Ms Clifford currently works part-time at a Gold Coast boarding kennel but is planning a move to Ipswich to find a cheaper home and full-time office work.
“I think people probably want someone who’s 35, 40 or something like that or maybe even younger.
“I know I’ve got a lot to offer, I’ve got a lot of skills and I’ve worked for a long time and I’m quite computer literate, but I think people just think, ‘She’ll be wanting to retire in a couple of years’ time, so it’s not worth taking her on’.”
More programs needed for mature age workers
Labour market analyst Professor John Spoehr said the sharp rise in the number of over-55s on Newstart was due to a downturn in traditional industries and a crackdown on eligibility for disability support payments.
“Despite the Australian unemployment rate being relatively low, that masks some other problems in the labour market,” he told 7.30.
“In particular, the difficult circumstances that mature-age workers face, particularly because of the decline in mining and manufacturing.
“People who were skilled in those sectors had to find jobs in very, very different areas of the labour market, predominantly in the services sector where they weren’t well skilled.”
Professor Spoehr said a poor education was hurting some workers in the modern employment landscape.
“Typically, mature-age workers, baby boomers in particular, often require more support than a lot of other workers in the labour market that are struggling,” he said.
“I think there’s a need for an expansion of mature-age employment programs in Australia to support mature age workers through these difficult transitions.”
Living on $40 a day
Phillip Cacciola, 61, has a lifetime of experience on the factory floor.
“My first job [was] cabinet maker, then I got a job at Holden, biscuit factory, steel fabrication,” he told 7.30.
“Then I got a job at Copperpot pate and dip factory. I was there for 10 years.”
He is now unemployed and believes his reading and writing skills and age are stopping him from finding work.
“Everything is on the computer,” he said.
“When you put a job application in you’ve got to put it in the computer. I can’t do that. Simple as that, I just can’t do that.
“If they put me on a forklift and show me what to do I’d probably pick it up after a while. You’ve got to go through the paperwork and safety and stuff.
“I know the safety stuff but you still got to write it down, that’s my biggest problem.”
Mr Cacciola said he had personally sought out courses to improve his reading and writing skills but wanted the Government to help more in this area as well as increase the Newstart payment.
He lives on about $40 a day.
“Sometimes I get cranky when I hear things about the politicians,” he said.
“They’ve got no problems paying the electric bills, they’ve got no problems paying anything.
“If they want to buy something they can get money out of the bank and buy it. I can’t do that.”
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.
Are older workers an advantage or a disadvantage?
Perceptions of workers over 55 years old spanned both extremes, though these perceptions varied significantly by country.
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.
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.”
Older workers must not be left behind when it comes to digital skills training, according to a survey and report from Business in the Community.
The poll of 2,000 employees, 1,000 of whom were over 50, found that older workerss are not receiving the training and skills development they need to succeed in the digital era. Only 25% of employees aged 50-59, and 22% of those aged 60-69, felt their employer encouraged them to take up learning and development opportunities. This is compared with 44% of 18-39 year-olds and 32% of 40-49 year-olds.
Older workers were also more likely to feel that their employer did not inform them about how technology and automation would impact their job compared to younger employees.
Separate research from McKinsey Global Institute has forecast that up to a third of US and German workers, and nearly half of those in Japan, may need to switch occupations by 2030 due to a sudden surge in automation. The researchers describe this as an upheaval on a par with the shift from agriculture to manufacturing.
Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Alliance Manchester Business School, told the Financial Times that that older workers, who remember a time when jobs were for life, may struggle with re-skilling.
“Thirty years ago the psychological contract was if you [work hard] for us we’ll give you career development,” he said. “Now the contract is that we expect you to be committed . . . but we cannot guarantee future employment.”
Therefore, what can businesses do to support older workers in their upskilling journey? Nupur Malik is the HR Director at Tata Consultancy Services, which helped support the Business in the Community research. She called on organisations to take action.
“We believe that training and development is an ongoing process and support all our employees to gain the skills needed to succeed at work, whatever their age,” she said. “Taking action will mean more businesses can thrive in an increasingly competitive global business environment and support employees to stay in good work for longer.”
“By supporting older workers to be ‘digital adopters’ employers can show they value experience, ambition and ensure that their businesses are prepared for future skills shortages,” added Lincoln.
Carol Kulik, Opinion, The Advertiser
November 24, 2017
WHEN Australia’s age pension was introduced in 1909, just 4 per cent of the population lived long enough to claim it.
Now, the average Australian is expected to live 15-20 years beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 — and by 2050, nearly a quarter of our population will be aged 65 and over.
Clearly Australia’s ageing workforce is a reality that we cannot afford to ignore. But what can organisations do in order to benefit from this growing demographic?
For older Australians, the key here is choice. On the one hand, they’re physically capable of working longer, so they could stay in the workforce. On the other hand, they’re tempted by retirement so they can travel, spend quality time with family and friends, or pursue a favourite hobby.
Baby Boomers have an unprecedented option to extend their working careers beyond the traditional retirement age, and being the largest — and wealthiest — older generation ever, their motivations for staying in the labour force are dependent on the quality of support they receive from their manager.
So for organisations, the challenge is to adequately deliver just this.
To help you on your way, here are a few strategic tips for attracting, engaging, and retaining older workers in your organisation:
Plan for older workers to be front and centre
Have you reviewed the age profile of your workforce and your customers? Some industries like aged care and financial services rely heavily on older clients and customers but, as the population ages, older Australians will become a fast-growing segment across all industries.
To engage this growing demographic group, you can position your older workers in visible, frontline roles to connect with similar older customers, suppliers and stakeholders.
This sends a strong signal that your organisation values older people, making the business more attractive to both older customers and job applicants.
Listen up — or miss out
How much do you know about the changing needs of your older workers? If you’re to benefit from their experience, you may need to redesign jobs to match the changing physical and psychological needs of an older workforce.
Simple things, like losing the physical components of the job, or increasing their opportunities to engage with other people, can seem like easy adjustments, but unfortunately many older workers have tried unsuccessfully to negotiate such changes.
The consequence is an unhappy older worker, who, tired of being in a job that provides a poor fit, simply “retires”, only to return to the job market a few weeks or months later, with a different organisation.
Just like that, you’ve lost one of your most valuable resources — and when they exit, their skills and experience also go out the door.
Keep an open mind about who does what
Do you assume that interns are young? Do you think that managers should be older than the people they supervise? Traditional ideas about the right age for the right job are quickly becoming outdated, and organisations need to acknowledge this in order to get the most out of the workforce.
In the case of older workers, many are interested in “encore careers” that enable them to pursue opportunities outside their original career choice.
As an employer, you may be able to leverage this by offering older workers opportunities within your organisation, perhaps rotating across roles and units or retraining for different kinds of work.
And remember, keep an eye out for older jobseekers making a “sea change” in occupation or industry — they can bring transferable skills, such as budgeting or project management, and new perspectives to your organisation.
Carol Kulik is professor of human resource management at the University of South Australia
Half of us will live to 100 that’s why senior workers need a gap year to plan for their retirement
HALF the Aussies born today will live to be 100. So it’s time to reassess how we live healthier and work smarter.
HALF the Aussies born today will live to be 100 and it is time to introduce a senior’s gap year where older workers take a year off work to consider their next 20 years says Aged Care minister Ken Wyatt.
Describing 70 as the new 40, Mr Wyatt is warning Australians they will have to prepare for a future in which they will be healthy enough to work or volunteer well into their eighties.
“More than six million of Australians now aged between 50 and 75 are facing an extended life expectancy,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra.
Researchers at the London Business School had calculated that children born today in the US, Canada, Italy or France had a 50 per cent chance of living to at least 104, and 107 if they came from Japan.
“These projections are the real deal. Therefore, we need to seriously refocus our attention on living better,” he said.
More than six million of Australians now aged between 50 and 75 are facing an extended life expectancy.
This new age could bring us fulfilment and freedom but it has to be managed by a gradual move to part time employment, changing careers, volunteer work or a combination of both.
Too many Australians who retired wished later they had stayed on at work and their employers often found it hard to find a replacement worker with their experience and knowledge, he said.
“For all of these reasons, I personally believe we should consider a “seniors gap year”, made available for employees, in the lead up to the traditional retirement age,” he said.
“Like teenagers have done for decades, as they plan their studies and career paths, this “gap year” could allow older people to map out their future, while maintaining job security,” he said.
The question they would consider during this year would be what they do for the next few decades? How will they continue to contribute and harness their knowledge and skills for the benefit of society and the economy?
“Just imagine if, when we reach 60 and we are thinking of retiring, and we are given the opportunity to take 12 months’ leave without pay and go and do the grey nomad travelling, do all the things you wanted to do on your bucket list for 12 months, and then you come back and you say to your employer, I’m back, I’m ready to start working again’ he said.
Mr Wyatt said his idea was not government policy but he spoke of how after he took a redundancy package in his fifties he decided he wanted to re-enter the workforce.
National seniors policy advocate Ian Henschke said it was important for people to consider if they were ready for retirement but “I’m not sure it requires an entire gap year”.
People should experiment with retirement by using their long service leave before they retire to see if they are ready to leave the workforce, he said.
“If you took six months long service leave at half pay that would be sufficient to understand whether playing golf six days a week or doing pottery and art classes was right for you rather than working, he said.
Scott Barklamb, Director of Workplace Relations at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Australia needed creative ideas for a national discussion on retaining more Australians in work, as the Minister has provided today.
“Expanded options for flexibility seem the most productive area to look at, and we should better empower employers and their older employees to work out flexible arrangements that best meet their needs,” he said.
“Just as planning your retirement is important for individuals, succession planning is important for businesses. We would be wary of any provision that introduced greater uncertainty for business or made succession planning even more difficult,” he said.
The minister is also calling for major changes to the way we treat the aged many of whom are lonely and who live in aged care facilities where they receive no visitors at all.
He wants small houses grouped around a central kitchen and living room built to improve housing options for the aged.
“When I talk to people in Aged Care, I find so many who crave simple touch, a hug, the warmth of palms clasped together, or a soothing hand on their shoulder,’ he said.
It was distressing that 40 per cent of people in nursing homes did not receive a single visitor 365 days of the year, he said.
“Our elders should hold a special place in our society — they are not to be sent away or shunned, but remain fundamental to family groups and communities, as wisdom-givers,” Mr Wyatt said.
Older people should be valued for who they are, not just in terms of economics, but for what they have done and continue to do
Mr Wyatt on Wednesday announced a $2.8 million consultation to set out a plan for future investment for My Aged Care, this will be done in close consultation with consumers, service providers and community partners.
The government has recently embarked on a major expansion of home care services that provide help for the elderly in their own homes so they don’t need to move into aged care facilities.
Source: News Corp Australia Network October 25, 2017