Posts Tagged “jobs for older workers”



Monday, 16th January 2017



Study Highlights Cost of Ignoring Older Workers

Australian employers are failing to support and engage older workers which is costing them, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of South Australia and the University of Melbourne surveyed 666 Australian workers between the ages of 45 and 75 over a three-year period about their work experiences.

They found that employers who addressed and invested in older workers reaped significant benefits including a committed, stable and engaged workforce, however many organisations were “far from up to the challenge” and could face problems as the workforce ages and people retire later in life.

Lead researcher, Professor Carol Kulik, a research professor in human resource management at the University of South Australia’s centre for workplace excellence, said age stereotypes were “notoriously persistent” in organisations.

“Mature-age employees [are] commonly perceived to be less productive than their younger counterparts, lacking initiative, disinterested in learning or developing, and resistant to change,” Kulik said.

“Mature-age employees are aware of these age stereotypes and worry that they may inadvertently confirm them. The resulting stereotype threat demotivates mature-age workers and lowers their engagement.

“Our research shows that employers who address older workers’ concerns while also investing in training actually reap significant benefits including a committed, stable and engaged workforce.

“Unfortunately, organisations have been slow to adopt mature-age practices, even though our research shows them to be highly effective in reducing stereotype threat and increasing job engagement among older workers.”

Mature-age workers currently account for 40 per cent of the total Australian workforce and according to latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures more than four million Australian workers are aged 45 years or older.

Moreover from 1 July, the pension age is set to rise by six months every two years, climbing to 67 by 2023. The government proposes to continue this rate of increase until the qualifying age reaches age 70 on 1 July 2035.

With an increasingly ageing workforce, this latest study Engage Me: The Mature-Age Worker and Stereotype Threat, found it was essential for Australian employers to keep older workers engaged and harness the power of their older workers in order to boost the economy.

Researchers found mature-age workers reported lower stereotype threat and higher engagement when employers had high-performance practices that focused on employee training, rewards, and participation, or had adopted mature-age practices that focused on age-specific training, job design and career-management opportunities.

The high-performance and mature-age practices had independent effects, so workers were most engaged when their organisations invested in both types of practices.

The practices were especially important when mature-age workers reported to young managers, were surrounded by young co-workers or worked in manual occupations where age-related physical declines could be visible.

“Employers and managers need to be aware of the unintended signals that environmental cues send to mature-age workers,” Kulik said.

“Policies crafted to recognise and encourage mature-age workers send consistent, durable signals that lessen those workers’ concerns about negative managerial attitudes and increase their focus on their work.

“Organisations can try to eliminate age stereotypes, but managerial attitudes are stubbornly resistant to change so focusing on management practices may have more immediate – and more enduring – effects on mature-age worker engagement.

“Organisations will enjoy the highest levels of engagement from their mature-age workers when they add age-specific practices to their management practices including training designed to upgrade mature-age worker skills, opportunities to redesign jobs to accommodate mature-age worker needs, and phased retirement programs that allow mature-age workers to ease into retirement.”

The video below outlines the findings:


Wendy Williams |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector.

Employers have been encouraged to consider older job candidates, after an 89-year-old man in the UK who claimed he was “dying from boredom” successfully found a job.

The Guardian reports Joe Bartley, an elderly resident of Devon, England, posted a job advert in the local newspaper last month seeking 20 hours of work a week.

“Senior citizen 89 seeks employment in Paignton area. 20hrs+ per week. Still able to clean, light gardening, DIY and anything. I have references. Old soldier, airborne forces. Save me from dying of boredom!” Bartley wrote.

Read more: One in four older Australians experience age discrimination at work: Study

Just two days after The Guardian’s article, Bartley received two offers of part-time work and has accepted a hospitality role with a local family-run café.

The café’s owner Sarah Martin told the Guardian, “no matter what your age or your background, you deserve a chance”.

“A lot of people who come here don’t just come for coffee, they come for a chat, so Joe is perfect,” Martin told The Guardian.

“How often do you get an 89-year-old person approaching you and saying he wants to work? Usually, we have to go out and find people, and when we get them, sometimes they don’t even want to work.”

Bartley also received a job offer from a bakery in a nearby town, but reportedly turned it down, as he could not easily travel to the business.

Psychologist Eve Ash believes businesses everywhere should consider hiring older workers, saying many of them a “defying expectations”.

“We typically don’t associate working with older people, we typically associate them with sitting around and taking it easy,” Ash says.

“We need to see fewer age judgements. There’s a perception once you hit 70, it’s time on from then on.”

“A whole new workforce”

Ash believes a whole new workforce exists in people over the age of 70, with older workers having “a different type of determination and stamina”. Ash’s own father still works as a land surveyor at the age of 92, with no plans to retire until he hits 100.

Some concessions do need to be made when considering older workers, Ash says, as “40 hour, nine to five jobs” are generally not suitable.

“At any age over 70 there are certain things need to be tested, like driving skills. Older workers are also more suited to shorter weeks and irregular working hours,” Ash says.

“There’s a wide range of things older people could be doing, like customer service or minding things.”

“We need to remove these concepts of age [limiting] employability potential.”

Ash says more evidence is needed to see exactly what sort of jobs are suitable for older workers, but firmly believes they are more likely to “have the time and the care to do things”.

“We might discover they have amazing positive mood characteristics, and in the workplace, this is extremely important,” she says.

It was not reported how many hours Bartley would be working at the café, but on Sundays, he will catch a lift with his boss to work, while catching the bus the rest of the time.

“We think about these things all the time. We are never going to be rich, but we like to give something back, so when we saw the advert there was no question – the minute we saw it we knew we’d give him a job,” Martin told The Guardian.

Source: Startupsmart

 

A Hazelwood worker has labelled tax rules that stop him from qualifying for a genuine redundancy as unjust, and is calling for the rule to be reviewed.

Denis Clough, 66, will not qualify for what the Australian Tax Office (ATO) classifies as a genuine redundancy when the Hazelwood power station shuts its doors in March, because of his age.

Workers who receive a genuine redundancy do not pay tax on part of their termination payment, but payments to workers over the preservation age of 65 years — the age from which a person can access their superannuation — are called employment termination packages (ETP) and do not have the same tax benefits.

Mr Clough has worked in the industry all his life, and started work at Hazelwood 36 years ago.

Older Hazelwood workers get less

He described the moment a colleague pointed out he would pay about $80,000 of his nearly $330,000 pay-out in tax as “shocking”.

Mr Clough said although the smaller payout would not put his plans of being a self-funded retiree at risk, he was angry he was being treated differently because of his age.

“I would have retired in a couple of years and basically ended up with the same money I’ll get by going a couple of years earlier, but I would have preferred to go to work a few more years,” Mr Clough said.

“It’s really just the principle. It’s as if the ATO is being made redundant, not me.

“I’m one of the lucky ones that I could have retired anyway, but there’s people, I don’t know what they’re going to do for a job, how they’re going to pay their debts.

“My real complaint is I just think this is morally wrong, that what they’re doing taxing this as an employment termination package.

“I just would like some politician explain to me how he can morally justify it.”

Australians working longer and retiring later

Financial planner Ben Lancaster has backed Mr Clough’s call for change.

Mr Lancaster said with Australians working longer, it may be time to reconsider the age cut-off.

“It does seem unfair in terms of being over 65, all of a sudden the whole amounts to an ETP,” he said.

“The reasoning behind it would seem that it would assume that it’s not a bona fide redundancy because at 65 you might be retiring, but it does seem with Australians working longer it seems like a bit of outdated legislation.”

Mr Lancaster said there would be more over-65 redundancies as people continued to work later in life.

“The age pension age is lifting, so people will work past 65 to reach the age pension,” he said.

“It would seem logical that 65 seems a bit of an off age in today’s day and age.”

 

Source:  ABC Gippsland

competitionBy Alex Fradera

Places of work have become fairer thanks to their embrace of meritocracy: the idea that the best person for the job is the right person for the job. Formal assessment processes, for example, help ensure that interviews are granted on merit, rather than allocating them based on which resumes remind the hiring manager of a younger version of themselves. One consequence of meritocracy is the replacement of seniority-based promotion – you get a better position when “it’s your time” – with one based on ability, a development that means younger people with the appropriate skills can leapfrog older colleagues and end up managing them. Unfortunately, according to new research in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, this can have nasty repercussions.

Florian Kunze and Jochen Menges surveyed employees at 61 German companies, based primarily in the service industry, but also finance, manufacturing, and trade. Nearly 8000 participants described their age difference in relation to their managers, and a subset reported their experience of various negative emotions over the last six months. Managers tended to be older than those they managed, but on average a quarter of relationships did involve younger managers. Crucially, in companies where the size of the age gap was larger between younger managers and older subordinates, employees tended to report more negative emotions, such as anger or fear, experienced over the last six months.

Why would this be? Consider how the older subordinates might feel. We tend to measure our life progress by using our peers as a benchmark, particularly those in our age cohort, who may provoke a flush of envy if they rise far past us. But more brutal yet is when those who should be behind us pull ahead, rubbing our faces in our own inability to keep pace. And when such a person is managing you, it’s hard to avoid this.

More broadly, being under the supervision of someone younger than us is a simple status incongruence, like being lectured on your dress sense by your precocious 8-year-old nephew. This is an engine for resentment-based negative emotions. Such emotions, Kunze and Menges suggest, can then reverberate through the wider organisation, especially – and as established by diversity research – because employees will typically pay more attention to what happens to colleagues who tend to stand out, or in this case, to relationships that deviate from the norm.

Kunze and Menges also asked the leadership of each company to report their recent financial performance, as well as measures of productivity and efficiency. After controlling for company size and efficiency, they found that companies experiencing more negative emotions showed worse performance on all counts. More youthful managers of older subordinates, therefore, contribute to worse company performance through the negative emotions their existence encourages, presumably through sapping morale and enthusiasm for collective effort in the face of so much frustration.

The data revealed a buffer against this harmful outcome, but it’s a bitter pill to ask anyone to swallow: when employees reported that suppressing their emotions was the norm in their organisation, age differentials didn’t lead to more negative emotions in the wider organisation. The researchers reasoned that when emotions are unexpressed, there is no signal to the rest of the workforce that something is up, so they can go about their days in blissful ignorance. But this isn’t to solve the problem, but to distil it into a smaller but more concentrated form, as long-term emotion suppression can lead to depression, damaged health, and impaired cognitive performance, a cruel fate to which to consign these older workers.

But companies shouldn’t “revert to the old workplace with traditional age structures”, say Kunze and Menges, because their research says nothing about the overall benefits of merit-based promotion. However, they do believe the negative repercussions that they’ve revealed should be addressed. One suggestion is to help older subordinates make sense of their feelings and explore whether they can come to terms with them rather than simply suppress them. Another suggestion, which I warmly advocate, is to address the root causes, changing the culture around “career time tables” and addressing issues of hierarchy and voice, so that old-timers, whether managers or not, can share their accrued wisdom and fully participate in the organisations to which they have given for so long.

 

 

Our Assumptions About Old and Young Workers Are Wrong

November 14, 2016

It is almost second nature to create stereotypes of people based on age. If someone is in their twenties then they must be technologically adept, obsessed with keeping fit, prepared to change jobs frequently whilst obviously searching for meaningful work. Those in their sixties and seventies must be less interested in work and are probably exhausted and anticipating the leisure time offered by a long retirement.

These are seductive and easy to understand behavioural labels. But are these assumptions either real or helpful? Might they obscure even more important similarities?

We believe this is a crucial question to ask right now as working lives – shaped by technological innovations and extended by growing longevity – are undergoing profound transformations. To understand how people are responding to this transformation in their working lives, we developed a survey completed by more than 10,000 people from across the world aged 24 to 80.

We found far fewer differences between the age groups than we might have imagined. In fact, many of the traits and desires commonly attributed to younger people are shared by the whole workforce. Why might this be the case?

One reason is that we are simply living longer. This means we’re also working longer, and working differently.

For our recent book The 100 Year Life we calculated how long people will work. Whilst we cannot be precise, it is clear that in order to finance retirement many people currently in their fifties will work into their seventies; whilst those in their twenties could well be working into their eighties. That means that inevitably people of very different ages are increasingly working together.

This long working life, coupled with profound technological changes, dismantles the traditional three-stage life of full-time education, full-time work, and full-time retirement. In its place is coming – for all employees regardless of their age – a multi-stage life that blends education, exploration, and learning, as well as corporate jobs, freelance gigs, and time spent out of the workforce. Inevitably the variety of these stages and their possible sequencing will result in both greater variety within age cohorts, whilst also providing opportunities for different ages to engage in similar activities. In other words, work activities will become increasingly “age agnostic” and these age stereotypes will look increasingly outdated.

Right now people of every age are becoming increasingly aware of the transformation of their working life. They are reinvesting in their skills, looking after their health and thinking about options, transitions and career switches that weren’t a reality for previous generations. Viewed in this light, there is less discontinuity between different ages – and instead a shared, and growing interest in the tools to cope with a longer working life in an age of profound technological disruption.

Our survey highlighted these commonalities. While there may be some selection bias — the 10,000 people who completed our survey online are already interested in the topic of life and work changes — their experiences and attitudes highlight how misleading simple age related stereotypes can be. Consider six fairly common age-based assumptions: the young invest most in new skills, they are most positive and excited about their work, and they work hardest to keep fit; the old are more exhausted, keen to slow down, and less likely to explore. The people in our study overturned these stereotypes.

  1. It is not just the young who are investing in new skills. We asked people whether they felt their skills and knowledge had plateaued, and whether they had recently made an investment in their skills. After the age of 30 many people are concerned about plateauing skills. Indeed there is no difference between those in their 30s, 40s or 60s – almost two-thirds worried that their skills and knowledge were not keeping up with changing work demands. What is fascinating is how many people were countering this by actively investing in their skills. Certainly a higher proportion of those aged 18-30 (91%) and 31-45 (72%) felt they were investing in new skills but after the age of 45 almost 60% of all ages said they were actively investing. In other words, the majority of people keep maintaining skills and this does not significantly decline with age.
  1. It is not just the young who are positive and excited by their work. This is a crucial attitude as working lives elongate. If indeed being positive and excited about work declines sharply with age, then long working lives will become a terrible burden for the older. What was striking was that whatever their age, those feeling positive about their work was a constant at just over 50%. Just as striking is the proportion of people of all ages who don’t feel positive about their work.
  1. Older people are working harder to keep fit. We know that vitality is central to a long productive life and it is easy to imagine that it’s only the young who really care about their fitness. Yet we discovered that it is the older who are working hardest to try to keep fit. About half of those under 45 actively try to keep fit, rising continuously across the ages with a peak of 71% for those aged over 70.
  1. Older people are not more exhausted. One of the reasons corporations often prefer the young to the old is the assumption that with age comes exhaustion at work and therefore a lowering of productivity. We found no evidence of this age related exhaustion. In fact, more people under the age of 45 (43%) said they were exhausted than those over 45 (35%) – the least exhausted are those over 60.
  1. Older people don’t want to slow down. The stereotype is that as people age they want to slow down and are looking forward to retiring. We found this not to be the case. More than half of those aged 46 to 60 want to slow down, whilst only 39% of the people over 60 and less than 20% of the people over 70 say they want to slow down.
  1. Exploring is not just for the young. When you think about “gap years” you probably think about 20-year-olds taking time out after full-time education. But why assume that it is only the young who want to take time out to explore and learn more about themselves and their world? Crucially, we found no significant age difference in people’s excitement about exploring their options.

The six assumptions we have explored here are probably just aspects of a much bigger tapestry of assumptions about the young and old that are spurious, wrong, even damaging. We use the word damaging with care. When corporations believe that older workers invest less in their knowledge, are less excited by their work and exploring their world, and are on a path to physical decline and exhaustion, they make the wrong decisions about whom to select, promote and develop, and whom to retire.

There are undoubtedly some differences across the age groups that are important in the workplace. However, the over-simplicity of age and generational labels decreases our understanding of individuality; it masks the commonality of the task we are all facing as we strive to achieve a productive and enriching longer working career; and is in deep conflict with the imperative to develop age-agnostic working practices.

As every one of us is faced with living and working longer it is absolutely crucial that, whatever our age, we face up to and question unfounded assumptions and stereotypes about ourselves and about others. Only then can we create workplaces where people are accepted for themselves.


Lynda Gratton is Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School where she teaches an elective on the Future of Work and directs an executive program on Human Resource Strategy. Lynda is a fellow of the World Economic Forum, is ranked by Business Thinkers in the top 15 in the world, and was named the best teacher at London Business School in 2015. Her most recent book is The 100 Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity, co-authored with Andrew Scott.


Andrew Scott is Professor of Economics at London Business School and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford University and the Centre for Economic Policy Research. He has served as an advisor on macroeconomics to a range of governments and central banks and was Non-Executive Director on the UK’s Financial Services Authority. He is the co-author, with Linda Scott, of The 100-Year Life: Living and working in an age of longevity.

72 per cent Aussie grandparents couldn’t imagine life without the internet.

Australian grandparents are now swapping their ‘knitting’ for ‘internetting’, with the explosion of smart devices and increased access to fast broadband taking over all aspects of their lives.

According to a new research report commissioned by nbn, the majority of tech-savvy grandparents, or ‘GranTechies’, now couldn’t imagine their life without the internet.

In fact, more than 90 per cent now admit to jumping online every day.

The key findings of the nbn™ GranTechies Report reveal that Aussie grandparents are now using access to fast broadband for tasks including staying in touch with family and friends via email and Skype, online shopping and downloading or streaming video content.

The report also found that grandparents believe themselves to be as tech-savvy as their children and grandchildren, with 59 per cent saying that they are just as internet-smart as their younger counterparts.

Perhaps more importantly, the nbn™ GranTechies Report discovered that using the internet makes Australian seniors feel more educated and purposeful, as well as feeling more connected and less lonely.

This demographic believe it’s important that they upskill and stay up-to-date with tech trends, with more than half saying that they are eager to learn more through online tutorials and with the help of family and friends.

When it comes to online communication, it is Millennial men who are leading the charge when it comes to staying in touch with the older generation via social media.

Forty four per cent in this demographic say they connect with their grandparents using outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

According to Nan Bosler, President of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association, “Gone are the days where we thought of grandparents as tech dinosaurs – this research shows senior Australians are well and truly riding the tech wave”.

Based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Nan helps other seniors to learn to use the internet, welcoming anyone over the age of 55 but working mainly with people in their late 70s and right up to their 90s.

“The most popular activity is keeping in touch with family and friends,” explains Nan.

“However, seniors also use the internet like everybody else… for shopping, researching family history, taking online courses and buying airline tickets. I even have lots of students who are addicted to YouTube!”

Nan herself has been using computers for many years, initially making the most of technology to upload and publish local history books.

“When the internet arrived it was a new vehicle to upload information about local and Australian history. It was too good to miss because it brings the whole world to your fingertips,” she explains.

Disagreeing with the idea that seniors find it hard to learn new things, Nan explains, “When you’re trying something new you’re going to be hesitant and worried about making a fool of yourself.

Seniors need to learn from their peers and at their own pace but once we gain confidence we are off and running.”

Nan also uses the internet to stay mentally active, having enrolled in an online university course. “You don’t have to travel; you can just enrol and get started”.

While seniors do have to be aware of the dangers of using the internet, Nan would like to see more of her age group using it confidently.

“It’s fabulous for keeping up with the grandkids. Although some of them need to remember to mind their p’s and q’s once Grandma is on social media!” she says.

Nan has been pleased to see that with widespread access to fast broadband via the nbn™ network, the ‘GranTechie’ demographic has been able to move beyond using the internet to simply keep in touch with family and friends and has progressed to becoming a community of more advanced online users that is able to show the younger folk a thing or two.

If your grandparents are eagre to get into the tech game, but aren’t sure how, here are some tips of helping them get started.

 

 

 

Monday, 01 August 2016

Employers should make flexibility the “default position” for how work is performed to increase the workforce participation of older workers and people with disability, Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan says.

Ryan, whose term as Commissioner ends on Wednesday, told a Diversity Council Australia event last week that age and disability discrimination is a “growing problem”, but that turning negative attitudes into positive ones “is not beyond us”.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into the issue found that at April 2015 some 27 per cent of people aged over 50 had recently experienced workplace discrimination; and in the previous 12 months, nearly one in 12 Australians with disability reported experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment.

It also found employers were struggling to find information and support, Ryan said, adding that she was disappointed with employers’ lack of awareness of support services such as JobAccess and the Employee Assistance Fund, which provide organisations with advice and reimbursements for the costs of work-related modifications that help employees with disability.

“Discrimination is costly – it contributes to higher absenteeism, lower productivity, higher staff turnover, and increased recruitment costs, as well as lost business opportunities as a result of abandoning experienced, skilled and corporate knowledge,” she said.

“On the other hand, we also know that organisations that are inclusive and diverse report tangible benefits in terms of productivity, performance and innovation.”

One way to build inclusion and diversity is flexible work, Ryan said, noting that during the inquiry, “virtually every submission and consultation” identified workplace flexibility as an “important element to raise workforce participation”.

“Businesses should seek to normalise flexible work by making flexibility the default position in terms of work location, work hours and job design as far as the role allows,” she said.

In March 2016, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced that all public service jobs would be flexible by 2019 on the basis of “if not, why not”, she said by way of example.

Several other best practice examples are included in a guide released at last week’s event. These include Catholic Homes, which allows for flexibility in shift work; and Commonwealth Bank, which has a number of tools to help managers and employees make flexible arrangements work.

PwC report supports flexibility recommendation
Adding to the evidence that flexible work is good for business, PricewaterhouseCoopers last week released
its Golden Age Index – a weighted average of seven indicators that reflect the labour market impact of workers aged over 55 in 34 OECD countries.

The Index shows Australia has improved in the rankings since 2003, moving from 20th place to 16th in 2014. It performs poorly when compared to other Asia-Pacific countries, however, ranking last in the region, and below the US and Canada.

If Australia increased the participation rate of people aged over 55 to match that of Sweden, it could increase its GDP by about 4.7 per cent ($69 billion at 2014 values), according to the Index.

PwC says employers should adopt flexible working policies, such as ‘phased retirement’ or expanded training programs, to support older workers.

“They should also take steps to achieve age diversity, for example through opening up apprenticeship schemes to older workers so that they can capitalise on their experience,” it says.

AccorHotels, for example – which both the PwC report and the AHRC guide refer to as exemplifying best practice – supports older workers by providing them with a work experience and placement program.

The five-day training program involves work health and safety, complaints and feedback, and basic front office services training, and includes two days of on-the-job work experience in their selected department, as well as interviews with the talent and culture team to prepare them for job placement.

Willing to Work – Good practice examples: A resource for employers, AHRC, July 2016

Golden Age Index, PwC, July 2016

If Australia increased the number of older workers it could return $78 billion a year to the economy.

Australia is lagging while New Zealand soars ahead in attracting and retaining older employees in the workforce, costing an estimated $72 billion a year.

According to the PwC Golden Age Index, if Australia’s employment rates for workers aged more than 55 years old were increased to Swedish levels the nation’s gross domestic product could be about 4.7 per cent higher, equivalent to about $78 billion annually.

The biggest potential impact on GDP comes from those in the 55‑64 years old age group.

The report, which relies on the most recent data from 2014, found Iceland was ranked as the best OECD nation when it comes to keeping older workers employed, for the fourth consecutive time since 2003.

However, New Zealand has seen a rapid transformation, moving from ninth place in 2003 to second in 2014.

Israel, Germany and New Zealand saw the biggest improvement in the rankings between 2003 and 2014.
Australia, which was ranked 20th in 2003 has moved to 16th place in 2014, dropping back on the 2013 ranking of 15th.

Australia was ranked sixth when it came to the proportion of older workers in part-time employment.

But when it came to full-time earnings of 55-64 year-olds relative to 25-54 year-olds Australia performs relatively poorly, falling into the lowest third of countries.

PwC national economics and policy consulting partner Jeremy Thorpe said Australia had been slower than it needed to be to act on encouraging older workers to remain in the labour force.

He said it would take at least 10 years for the $78 billion of extra GDP to come to fruition.

“It’s not a figure we’d be able to achieve tomorrow because we’d have to raise our participation,” he said.

“Once we transition and improve that’s the outcome we could achieve. I don’t think we can turn the tap tomorrow. It’s at least a 10-year exercise. Unless you’re continually on a path of improvement, I don’t think any of this comes quickly. ”

Mr Thorpe said that, although politically-sensitive, Australia had been “slower than it needed to” in pushing the eligibility age out for the aged pension.

“Where we haven’t been proactive is around improving access to employment,” he said.

“From a government perspective there have been ‘toes in the water’ around these schemes. And industry need to make the change as well and understand they will suffer skills shortages as the population changes and it will be the one suffering if nothing changes.”

Last year’s intergenerational report predicts will be 2.7 people aged between 15 and 64 for every person aged 65 and over in 2055, compared with 4.5 at present and 7.3 in 1975.

Because of this, the number of workers over the age of 65 years will rise to 17.3 per cent, up from 12.9 per cent today.

With age and service pension, costs are expected to stabilise from 2.9 per cent of gross domestic product in 2014-2015 to 2.7 per cent in 2054-55

Mr Thorpe said when you looked at New Zealand it was because the country had looked at encouraging delaying retirement, improving employability of older workers and reducing barriers to employment.

The PwC report found the OECD could add about $2.6 trillion to its total GDP if economies with a lower full–time equivalent employment rate among people aged over 55 than Sweden increased their older worker employment rates to levels in Sweden, which is the best-performing EU country in the index.

When it came to Pacific countries, Australia performs poorly, ranking last out of New Zealand, the US, Korea, Japan and Canada.

Last week a report analysing Centrelink data by the University of Melbourne found since the pension age was raised to 65 women have worked for longer rather than trying to find other sources of welfare like the dole or disability pension.

There is a positive correlation with the PwC Young Workers Index, which suggests that the employment of older workers does not crowd out youth employment at the economy-wide level.

The report called on the federal government to introduce policy measures to encourage or facilitate later retirement, improve employability and reduce employment barriers.

“Policies could include pension reform and financial incentives to encourage working beyond national retirement ages, providing training throughout people’s working lives, and tightening regulation around labour market discrimination against older workers,” the report said.

Source: Australian Financial Review

Just as companies have shifted on the area of gender and race diversity in the workplace, they now need to change their mindset to encourage older workers to remain employed.
Australian companies need to adopt aged worker-friendly policies in order to survive and attract the best talent.

PwC’s The Golden Age Index report found businesses should look to adopt flexible working policies, such as “phased retirement”, or expanding training programs to encourage and support their older workforce.

“They should also take steps to achieve age diversity, for example through opening up apprenticeship schemes to older workers so that they can capitalise on their experience,” the report said.

PwC people and organisation partner Jon Williams said Australian companies had made gains on improving diversity in the workplace but needed a mindset change to implement policies to attract and retain older staff.

“Companies need to change workplace policies to allow people to work much more flexibly and they need to change culture,” Mr Williams said.

“We’ve moved on the diversity lens now we need to extend that to age.”

He said when blue collar jobs were automated the whole job was lost, but when it came to white collar roles only parts would be replaced.

“In the long term we’re going to need human skills, not computer skills, intuition and application of experience to solve social problems and that fits well into the older workforce’s skills, and unless we tap into these people we’re going to undercut our ability as a country.”

Mr Williams said there was no reason why older workers couldn’t be taught science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills but also the next wave of jobs in aged care would value older workers with life experience skills.

Companies such as electricity operator Transgrid are implementing plans to encourage older workers to remain employed.

The company undertakes strategic workforce planning each year to enable analysis of risks and fill gaps over the next five to 10 years.

It found a number of years ago there was an “age-cliff” as many engineers planned for retirement.

In response, the organisation brought on quite a number of graduates over a few years in preparation for transferring mid-career engineers into senior engineering roles.

Staff are also given other benefits including flexible work arrangements to phased retirement such as a condensed four-day week, a nine-day fortnight, 35-hour week, 15 per cent superannuation and personal leave of 18 days a year.

At Australia Post, 50 per cent of the workforce is over 45 years of age.

In 2010 the company introduced a policy whereby those over 53 years of age and with at least five years’ continuous service have been able to request flexible working arrangements in order to transition to retirement.

Employees may access their accrued long service leave or annual leave on a regular or patterned basis to maintain their salary.

With five generations in the workforce for the first time in its history, Westpac provides employees aged over 50 a “Prime of Life” program where they are given support to plan their next move, including transition to retirement.

Source: Australian Financial Review

Power station bosses to get rid of workers aged over 55 – because they are ‘too old to face challenging changes’

Bosses at Gladstone Power Station want to slash 20 per cent of their staff and will target older workers who might not be able to face ‘challenging changes’ ahead, The Courier Mail reported.
The cuts will see 46 of the 230-strong staff left without a job.
Workers at a powers station in Gladstone could face early retirement as the business structure is changed
Workers at a powers station in Gladstone could face early retirement as the business structure is changed
The move has been attacked for being from the ‘dark ages’ by National Seniors chief executive officer Michael O’Neill.
‘We have grave concerns … workers are being targeted based on their age … and it infers that older employees are inflexible and unable to learn new skills,’ Mr O’Neill said.
The power company has already lodged plans for their ‘early retirement’ scheme with the Australian Taxation office.
The company’s offer will see workers between 55 and 65 enter their retirement with 12 month’s pay.
‘The purpose of the scheme is to rationalise and reorganise Gladstone’s operations to meet their future business needs and increasing operational costs,’ the company told the tax office.
The company is offering workers over 55 early retirement and needs to shed 20 per cent of its workforce
The company is offering workers over 55 early retirement and needs to shed 20 per cent of its workforce
Craig Giddins from the Electrical Trades Union in Central Queensland said the company is replacing the older staff members because they cost more money.
‘I believe that the older workers have been targeted due to their high liability impact, they take longer to heal, age related sickness, bad backs, necks, limbs in general, cancer or other long term illness,’ Mr Giddins said.
The company has 129 workers over 50 on its books, 33 of those are over 60.
Workers born after 1965 must work until they are 70 years old, under the Turnbull government.
There are 129 workers over 50 at the station, and around 46 jobs to be cut

By BELINDA CLEARY FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
PUBLISHED: 01:34 EST, 10 June 2016

Source: Daily Mail