Posts Tagged “mature workers”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what is lost by having nobody senior around?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Penberthy

October 1, 2016

A MATE of mine who rightly describes himself as a grumpy old man told me a  great grumpy old man joke the other day. It involved a man in his late 50s, recently retrenched, who had typed up a CV for the first time in decades and was being interviewed by a 20-something HR woman at a job placement firm about his qualities as an employee.
“Do you think that you have any weaknesses?” she asked, routinely.
“Probably honesty,” he said.
“I don’t think honesty is a weakness,” she said.
“I don’t give a f–k what you think,” he replied.
Many a true word is said in jest. I like this joke because it goes to the heart of the perception that older workers — or in this bloke’s case, non-workers — are irascible and stuck in their ways. Also, older workers are seen as providing limited return on investment, to use that cliched management term.
Why bother hiring a crotchety know-it-all who might give you a decade of productivity, when you could stump for a bright young thing to shape in your image, and hopefully hold on to for years?
Our economy is at a crossroads, shifting from its reliance on manu-facturing and mining to the new service and data-driven industries.
There has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian, our Prime Minister says.
For many people, most of them men aged in their 50s and early 60s, there has never been a more unnerving time to be an Australian — because so many people being squeezed out of jobs are older men.

‘So much of the discussion around unemployment has focused on the young.’

Men who, if sacked, will never work again. The figures are borne out by the depressing statistic that anyone who is retrenched over the age of 55 will spend at least twice as long on the dole as a person under that age. And a 2014 study by the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre revealed that 96 per cent of people aged 55 to 59 who were retrenched wound up retiring, even though many were desperate to work again.
So much of the discussion around unemployment has focused on the young. There have been calls to raise the Newstart allowance from $264 a week to $317, a $53-a-week increase that would cost the Budget $7.7 billion.
It’s been pushed by the Australian Council of Social Service and the Australian Industry Group fearing the current rate is so low that people cannot present themselves properly or travel to look for jobs. I have no way of knowing whether the public agrees with the ACOSS and AIG position. My hunch is that many would be suspicious of the proposed rise, fearing that young people who could be rightly described as bludgers would treat it as their personal payday.
The public view would be different, however, if you asked people to compare the indolent 20-somethings who had never looked for work in his life, and the middle-aged man who had done nothing but work, and who found out last Monday his company was shifting operations to Beijing or Bangalore.
The Federal Government’s logic in denying calls for a Newstart increase is that it risks turning the welfare safety net into a hammock. I agree with that view for younger workers with no dependants, and no interest in working. I am not sure if it is fair for older people who have mortgages, debts, children — and a burning desire to work again.

The Federal Government’s logic in denying calls for a Newstart increase is that it risks turning the welfare safety net into a hammock.
I am not suggesting that every unemployed young person doesn’t want to work. There are some suburbs in Australia where the old blue-collar jobs have gone forever.
But there are plenty of younger people who would not work in an iron lung. Surely the best way to get them off their behinds is with less carrot, and more stick.
One of the more illuminating moments of my journalistic career came about 10 years ago when I was asked to go from editing newspapers to running a news website. You could not have found a team more adept to the digital age, be it writing HTML code, or generating new audiences via social media channels.
Their only weakness, as purported journalists, was that many of them didn’t know what The Dismissal was, how Harold Holt disappeared, or who the hell Harold Holt even was. We had replaced people who were walking encyclopedias with the Wikipedia generation. As a community, we do that every time we sort through the CVs on the basis of age, not to forget perceived grumpiness.

Source: Sun Herald

Arnoud De Meyer

Studies at German carmakers show that with the right tools and environment, older workers get more productive. It is time to redesign jobs in Singapore, from cleaning to food and beverage and services.
A few months ago, I saw a series of advertisements on buses promoting the recruitment of older workers. The direct message was nice and clear: Older workers can bring a wealth of experience and can therefore be useful to an organisation. But I felt, perhaps wrongly, that there was a subliminal stereotype in these advertisements suggesting that older workers were not productive any more, and that such lowering in productivity had to be compensated by the sometimes- elusive concept of experience.

If that were true, we here in Singapore would be up for unpleasant surprises. While the Government rightly encourages us to enhance productivity in all sectors of the economy, we also know we have a rapidly ageing society. We have fewer babies than in the past and we live longer.

As a consequence, the number of Singapore citizens and permanent residents in the usual working age range of 20 to 64 peaked last year, and the number of citizens above 65 will rise from 440,000 last year to 900,000 by 2030. It is estimated that by 2030, there will be only 2.1 working-age residents for every person above 65, as opposed to more than double that today.

What can we do about it? One option is significant growth in immigration. I don’t think that is on the cards. Another option is that we all work longer. I am not sure I like that option personally, but from observing what is happening in other countries with a rapidly ageing population, such as Britain, Germany and Japan, I see that everywhere the real retirement age is rising. In fact, with the exception of Japan, many societies are turning to both options: increasing immigration and working longer.


That is the bad news. Now for the good news.

The assumption that productivity declines with age is factually wrong. Research in many industrialised countries shows clearly that productivity does not diminish with age. We have to be careful with some of these studies because they measure productivity of younger and older people who are active in the workforce. One can thus argue that those who left the workforce are the ones who had lost out in productivity. So a more precise formulation is that there is no loss of productivity for ageing workers who stay in the workforce.


There is, of course, quite some difference in productivity between members of that older age group, but that is also true for younger workers. To put it scientifically, the variance within each age group is significantly larger than the variance between age groups.

Let me refer to one seminal piece of research (by Axel Boersch-Supan and Matthias Weiss) on an assembly line of the German car manufacturer Mercedes. Such car assembly lines have a fixed pace. So productivity is not measured by speeding up the lines, but by measuring the mistakes that are made, leading to defective cars that need to be reworked, thus reducing the output per day. Measured this way, the productivity per worker at Mercedes went up till the age of 65 – it does not mean it could not go up beyond 65. There were simply no workers older than 65.

Recently, I was in a taxi with an elderly driver who was hard of hearing. At first, I was a bit worried. But he had really organised himself well to communicate with his passengers. He had a little note on the back of the front seat apologising for his hearing problem, and a notebook for the passenger to write down the destination. I noticed he was doubly careful in checking for cars overtaking, and found that he drove very efficiently and safely.
I can already see some of us thinking this does not make sense. We all know that when we age we have growing problems with our eyesight or hearing, we are less able to lift heavy loads and our cardiorespiratory capabilities decline. And yes, I personally also seem to forget a bit more as I grow older. And we may learn less rapidly than a 20-something.

It may be true that what is called fluid intelligence, or your capability to learn abstract concepts and reasoning, may diminish with age.

But your crystallised intelligence, which is based on knowledge acquisition and experience, rises and compensates significantly for that loss of fluid intelligence.

The loss of sensory capabilities (seeing and hearing) can be easily compensated by a better working environment. A bit more light in the workplace can help. Our inability to lift heavy weights can be compensated by having a few more tools.

Once again, I would like to refer to a 10-year-old study at that other German car manufacturer, BMW.

They understood in the early 2000s that with the rapidly rising age of their workforce, they would have to redesign their factories. So they created an assembly line with a group of workers with an average age of 47. The factory’s management raised the issue, some managers ran an experiment, but it was the workers themselves who came up with the solutions.

With a mere €40,000 investment in an assembly line, they were able to raise productivity by 7 per cent in one year, equalling the assembly lines staffed by younger workers. Absenteeism was originally at 7 per cent but, after a few years, it dropped to 2 per cent.

What was the trick? A few simple equipment changes, accompanied by changes in work practices. There were new chairs (based on the design for the barber shop chair), magnifying lenses, adjustable worktables, large-handled gripping tools, larger typeface on the computer screens, and wooden floors which are better for our joints. In addition, a physiotherapist developed stretching and strength exercises to make older people more flexible at the start of the working day.

Why do I make this point? First, because I am convinced that Singapore needs to develop an environment that will enable ageing people to remain productive. We need it to remain competitive.

Second, if we do it well we may develop innovative processes and workshop designs that can be sold to other ageing countries. Germany has started with this. Japan is heavily investing in robotisation to support elderly people.

What can we do?

Robotisation might help. But in many cases I am convinced it is gimmicky, and nice to show on a late-night TV show. The reality is much simpler and cheaper. I am convinced that enhancing productivity for the elderly can be stimulated in five ways.


First, let’s get over the stereotypes that older people are wiser but less productive. With the right tools and in the right environment, they can be both wiser and more productive. Perhaps we also should change our vocabulary. Let’s not talk about ageing. It sounds negative. Let’s talk about longevity.

Second, let’s research the tools, the environment and the education needed to keep our long-living workforce productive. The BMW case is just one example.

How do we reorganise cleaning, F&B, construction, bus driving, computerised services, libraries, entertainment, you name it, so that it becomes easier for long-living workers to be productive?

For example, at many of our institutions, cleaning is performed by elderly people. But the tools are designed for young people.

I notice at my own organisation that some of the “uncles” and “aunties” have quite cleverly reorganised their tools to make it easier for them to do their cleaning jobs. Perhaps we should listen more to them.

Recently, I was in a taxi with an elderly driver who was hard of hearing. At first, I was a bit worried. But he had really organised himself well to communicate with his passengers. He had a little note on the back of the front seat apologising for his hearing problem, and a notebook for the passenger to write down the destination. I noticed he was doubly careful in checking for cars overtaking, and found that he drove very efficiently and safely.

Third, we need to invest in more flexible working arrangements. Older people may be interested in different lifestyles and work arrangements. They may want to work only part-time because they want to take care of their grandchildren. Or they may wake up earlier and would love to work from 6am till 3pm. And some older women may want to catch up on their career to make up for the time they had lost when they were taking care of their children. They may well want to work more. I am not dictating the right way of organising work. What is needed are more flexible arrangements that fit longer-living employees.

Fourth, let’s get rid of the notion that older people cannot learn, or the idea that it is not a good investment to have them learn new skills. They are as capable as anybody else to learn new approaches. They may have a different learning style. Some research in the Nordic countries indicated that retired people were as eager and capable as adolescents to learn how to navigate the Internet and its social networks. They just learnt it in a different way. The value of education and training is not reduced by age.

And, finally, we should not underestimate that elderly people know better the needs and challenges of elderly customers. When a senior citizen goes to a bank, does he or she really want to be advised about investments by a youngish relationship manager? Frankly, I personally prefer to be served by an experienced older cabin crew than by the youthful stewards and stewardesses with scant experience in life that we see so often in the advertisements of our airlines.

My point is that we should design services and products appropriate for long-living people and delivered by long-living people. Let’s stop talking about ageing. Instead, let’s focus on living longer and working longer and well. Longevity and productivity can go hand in hand.

The writer is president of Singapore Management University.

Political Correspondent
Joe Hockey in Adelaide. ‘It is hugely important … giving people the chance to work longer

Joe Hockey in Adelaide. ‘It is hugely important … giving people the chance to work longer’. Picture: Roy VanDerVegtSource: News Corp Australia

Older Australians will get new ­rewards for finding work and strong incentives to put off their retirement as the federal government recasts its controversial pension savings in a wider budget reform aimed at boosting the workforce at the same time it helps to cut the deficit.

Federal cabinet has agreed to make faster payments of up to $10,000 to employers who hire older Australians as part of an overhaul of job programs to help tens of thousands of people back into the workforce.

A separate budget measure will give people approaching ­retirement a new incentive to stay at work for a few more years in the knowledge they could collect a bonus when they choose to claim the Age Pension.

The budget will also spare about two million retirees from an unpopular change to pension ­indexation, making the savings instead from fewer than 400,000 people with substantial private ­assets.

The tighter pension rules will mean that most of the burden for the savings will come from retirees who not only own their home but also have hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, real ­estate and other investments.

Ministers will argue that the new approach is fairer than the ­indexation changes announced last year, which would have seen a gradual fall in the pension when compared with wages over the long term and would have raised fears of pushing older Australians into poverty.

The new approach represents a dramatic softening in Tony ­Abbott’s message on work and ­retirement, offering help to those who want to work and giving a ­reprieve to many elderly voters who were alarmed at the prospect of a cut to their payments.

A major initiative in the May 12 budget will be a more generous payment to companies that hire older Australians, fixing problems in a program called Restart to make it easier for mature workers to get jobs.

Employers currently receive $3000 six months after they have hired a worker aged 50 or over and a further $7000 in stages over the next 18 months, but these payments will be accelerated in the new scheme.

Australians over 50 currently have to wait for six months on ­income support or the pension ­before they qualify for the job ­incentives. That will also be shortened under the new rules.

Another new program will be linked to the scheme to offer ­incentives for training so that older workers will get more help to retrain and take up a job, helping to prevent them falling back on ­unemployment benefits or ­pensions.

Joe Hockey has taken the lead on the assistance for mature workers in the wake of a report from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission that found one quarter of workers over 50 felt they had been discriminated against because of their age. The Treasurer warned last week that discrimination was far too prevalent, while signalling more recently that the budget would include new measures to help those workers.

“It is a hugely important issue, giving people the chance to work longer,” Mr Hockey said on Tuesday, adding there were a “few things” in play in the budget to ­address the challenge.

The Weekend Australian has confirmed that the overhaul of the Restart program is one of those new actions and that other measures have also been discussed to give workers more incentives to put off retirement.

A key issue is whether people who keep working beyond the age of 65, and therefore ease the burden on the public purse, deserve a reward when they ultimately choose to claim the Age Pension. Mr Abbott praised an old policy that offered new pensioners a lump sum of up to $49,000 if they had stayed in work and deferred the pension.

Early last month he said that idea was “certainly worth looking at”. Labor closed the Pension Bonus Scheme to new entrants in 2009 because data showed participants would have continued working anyway. Mr Abbott has been considering other ways to achieve the same objective.


Source:  The Australian

Date: April 27, 2015 
With the federal budget just two weeks away, you would expect Joe Hockey would be talking about the jobless.

With the federal budget just two weeks away, you would expect Joe Hockey would be talking about the jobless.

Photo: Mark Graham/Bloomberg

It’s curious how little attention unemployment has been getting compared with other federal government challenges like tax policy, debt and deficit.

The number of people looking for a job has now been over three quarters of a million for the past nine months – it’s 18 years since Australia had that many people out of work. Last month’s count of the unemployed – 768,600 in trend terms – was 60 per cent more than before the global financial crisis.

With numbers like that and the federal budget just two weeks away, you’d expect Joe Hockey would be talking a lot about the jobless. But in five lengthy media doorstops, interviews and Q&A sessions by the Treasurer last week he was not asked one question about unemployment. The transcripts for those interviews run to more than 7000 words but the word “unemployment” was only uttered once.


While the rate of unemployment has edged down to 6.1 per cent after reaching a 12-year high of 6.4 per cent a few months ago, there are troubling trends in the job numbers. The rate of long-term unemployment – when people have been out of work for a year or more – has been increasing at a faster pace than the total unemployment rate. Data released by the Department of Social Services last week showed the number of long-term job seekers receiving the Newstart allowance surged by 11.2 per cent to 275,725 in the year to March and has touched decade highs over the past few months.

The Fairfax-Lateral Economics Index of Australia’s Well-being has underscored the growing economic and social damage caused by long-term joblessness. In the December quarter alone the national wellbeing cost of long-term unemployment joblessness reached $1 billion. “This problem should be showing up on the dashboard much more than it is,” says the index’s creator and leading economist Dr Nicholas Gruen.

Another challenge largely ignored in the pre-budget debate is that young people are faring worst of all in the jobs market. The unemployment rate among 15 to 19-year-olds hit 20 per cent earlier this year – a level not seen since the mid-1990s. An index produced by the Brotherhood of St Laurence showing the probability of young people finding a job has fallen markedly in the past year. For teenagers, the job probability index is at levels not seen since the deep recession of the early 1990s.

It’s little wonder that the latest Ipsos Mind and Mood report, which has been tracking social attitudes and sentiment in Australia for 35 years, found job security was the biggest worry of those surveyed. The focus group discussions revealed a widespread perception that no one was safe from mass redundancies. It’s a reminder of how much unemployment matters to households.

Over the past four decades Australia’s economic policy guardians at the Federal Treasury and the Reserve Bank have traditionally had to deal with short sharp rises in unemployment. The conventional response has been to slash interest rates and allow the budget balance to worsen as dole payments rise and tax revenue falls. These “automatic stabilisers” play an important role in cushioning the economic blow. Analysis released by the International Monetary Fund this month shows the effective use of automatic stabilisers is of great benefit to economies and leads to higher medium-term growth.

But this phase of rising unemployment has been different as traditional tools for managing unemployment don’t seem to get the same traction. The jobless rate has slowly racheted higher as the economy lumbers at a below trend rate of growth in the aftermath of the mining boom. The Reserve Bank has cut interest rates eight times since 2011 to historic lows and yet the unemployment rate has continued to creep up. The bank’s governor, Glenn Stevens, has warned that the power of interest rates to “summon up additional growth in demand could, at these levels of interest rates, be less than it was in the past”.

Despite all the Abbott government’s tough talk on the need to deal with debt and deficit, its policy response to the upward trend in unemployment has also been quite conventional. Last year’s federal budget scheduled the toughest fiscal repairs to take place years into the future when, hopefully, the economy is stronger.

Hockey has indicated he will allow the “automatic stabilisers” to keep working. Last week he said the government would not cut spending to “chase down” the big revenue write-downs caused by falling commodity prices and that next month’s budget would “support jobs”. “We’ve got to ensure that the work of the Reserve Bank is not at odds with the work of the government, and vice versa,” he said last Thursday. “You can’t have your foot on the budgetary brake and at the same time have the governor of the Reserve Bank with his foot on the accelerator. It sends a mixed message.”

What if this conventional policy response doesn’t work and the dole queues grow longer?

That would leave Hockey with two options unlikely to be very popular with his Coalition colleagues. He could spend more on things like infrastructure projects in a bid to boost employment – although that would push the budget deeper into deficit. The other alternative is structural reforms to make the labour market more flexible, something sure to anger a lot of voters.

The Treasurer must be relieved he’s not being quizzed more about unemployment.

Source:  SMH


Under 50s would have higher wages and better job prospects if more older people were in work, Government’s older people’s tsar says

Senior business woman and men

The over-50s add value to the economy which creates jobs for younger people, a report says Photo: ALAMY

Older workers do not steal jobs from young people and wages and job prospects for the under-50s would actually improve if baby boomers were kept in work longer, a study found.

Ros Altmann, the Government’s older workers’ champion, said the idea that older workers took jobs from the young was a “myth”.

In a report commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, she said workers over the age of 50 faced “outdated stereotypes, unconscious bias and age discrimination“.

Ageist attitudes were hurting the economy, she said, predicting that an extra £25 billion would be generated if half of the 1.2 million employed or inactive older people seeking work were given jobs.

Rather than reducing the number of roles available to young people, extending British working lives would “better living standards for all of us”, she said.

“One of the most persistent myths I have encountered is that encouraging more older workers in the labour force will take jobs away from the young,” she said.

“On the contrary, the evidence shows keeping more older people in work actually improves employment prospects for younger generations, and has in some cases even increased their wages.

“Older and younger workers are not readily substituted for each other [and] there is not a fixed number of jobs in the economy.”

“The more spending power in the economy, the more jobs can be created.”

Her research showed that as the population ages, the number of people aged 50 to state pension age who were not working would increase from 2.9 million to 5.4 million by 2033 at current employment rates.

Many of the additional 2.5 million people would have “relatively low incomes and inadequate pensions”, she said.

This would “place a rising burden on younger generations”, she said, warning that “immigration alone cannot fill the gap”.

In an outspoken address on the topic last month, Prof Peter Spencer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said in February that late retirement was “holding back responsibility and remuneration for younger workers and pay in professional and managerial jobs.”

Ms Altmann, a former investment banker and academic at London School of Economics and at Harvard University, provided evidence to the contrary. She said historically, higher employment rates among older workers had benefited younger generations.

Ros Altmann found evidence to dispel the ‘myth’ that older wokers deprived the young

“After the Second World War, the dramatic increase in women’s labour force participation did not mean fewer jobs for men,” she said.

“Instead, it boosted economic growth, and more two-earner families with higher disposable income created new jobs as spending power in the economy increased.”

She contrasted the events with the “job release scheme” in the Seventies, which incentivised early retirement. The scheme was “accompanied by higher unemployment for young people”, she said, and was branded a “spectacular failure” by Age UK.

In France the government from 1971 to 1993 encouraged early retirement, only for employment among both old and young to fall. From 1993 to 2005, more older people stayed in work and youth employment rates in France increased, the report found. The same trend was noted in Germany and China.

“In the Fifties, over 90 per cent of men aged 60 to 64 were working, while it is now around 50 per cent,” Ms Altmann said. “For too long social norms have dictated that once you reach a certain age, you should expect to suddenly stop working. This must change. ”

Steve Webb, the pensions minister, criticised “old-fashioned and outdated perceptions” of older people and called on employers to retain and hire older staff. “From next month, we will be trialling targeted and intensive support for older jobseekers, including rolling out an ‘older workers’ champion scheme across every part of the UK,” he said.


Source:  Telegraph UK

It’s well and truly time to start thinking about how to make older workers feel welcome, experts say.

“Let’s get over our shock that older workers are going to be there longer and now ask the question about how can we make that useful and productive for everyone,” University of South Australia human resource management research professor Carol Kulik says.

“I think we really do need to be much more accommodating for older workers.”

The experts have some tips for both older workers and employers.



It’s going to be tough, it’s difficult, but the key thing is to keep at it,” says Greg Goudie, executive director of South Australian employment service DOME (Don’t Overlook Mature Expertise).


“They’ve got so much to offer. They probably don’t know how much they do have to offer,” Kronos Australia and New Zealand managing director Peter Harte says.

He advises learning how to write a resume and remarket yourself.

“You’d be surprised at the great things that person’s done that they haven’t really recorded.”


Mr Goudie says older workers shouldn’t be afraid to knock on doors, as 80 per cent of jobs that are filled are never advertised.


Mature-age people do have work experience skills, even if it’s stating that you’re able to work in a group with other people.

“A lot of employers hold that in high regard,” Mr Goudie says.


Skilled workers have a greater chance of staying in the workforce than unskilled workers, Mr Harte says.

He advises learning a different type of skill and make sure employers know they can be very flexible.


A lot of people who get to 50 and 55 and are out of work for a year can think it’s all too hard and `I’ll just give it up”, Mr Goudie says.



The federal government’s restart program – offering a $10,000 incentive to hire and retain job seekers aged 50 and over who’ve been receiving income support – may be counterproductive, Edith Cowan University psychology discipline leader Dr Eyal Gringart says.

“The message this policy sends is that older workers are inferior to younger workers and require special consideration.”


Organisations don’t signal a very strong openness to older job applicants, Prof Kulik says.

Their websites can have photos of bright, shiny young people and talk about fun and high-energy environments.

“It’s very easy I think for an older job seeker to think `that’s a signal, that’s a code for saying you don’t want somebody like me’. It’s a very discouraging process.”


Mature-age workers in organisations that adopt specific mature-age practices report high levels of engagement, Prof Kulik says.

The practices can be to help older workers upskill, having alternative career paths so an employee can move into phased retirement, take on a new work assignment or mentor junior people.


Organisations haven’t thought much about what kind of flexibility older workers need, Prof Kulik says.

It’s not start times or which days they work. It’s opportunities to take extended leaves of absence if they have to for health reasons or alternatively to travel, while maintaining their job security.


Professionals and managers tend to have more flexibility and autonomy, Prof Kulik says.

It’s not as clear what will happen for people with physically demanding jobs such as construction workers, miners and plumbers if flexibility isn’t offered, she says.

“Either we’re going to have to retrain them and do some kind of major career shift that works better or we’re going to have to be a lot more flexible about thinking about how work can be designed.”

PLANNING an early retirement?

You may want to think again if new research released today holds true.

A Galaxy Research study reveals about 27% of Rockhampton’s 16,207 residents aged over 65 can expect to be working into their 70s.

The study found that one quarter of us wanted to retire as early as possible, but 27% would be forced to work longer due to dwindling finances.

And 42% of the 1800 people surveyed said it would be hard to cope doing their jobs at 70.

Managing director of Capricorn Investment Partners David French believes people should be working for as long as they can and start planning their finances in their 40s.

“For the good of society people need to keep being productive until they’re not able to,” he said.

“It’s obviously going to be pretty difficult for some people who have manual jobs and it’s natural for people of that age not to maintain the same amount of strength but people need to keep in mind that we are living a lot longer these days; the average age of death for baby boombers is 92 now.

“Although it might be nice to retire when you want, it would be better to work for as long as you can and earn money to support yourself for when you physically can’t work any longer because the government pension accessibility age will keep progressing to 70.”

Mr French also believes people should be starting to think about their future no matter what age they are.

“People in their late 20s are starting to buy their own houses which is great,” he said. “But people in their 30s and 40s need to get really serious about saving and their superannuation because the government isn’t going to be standing behind you as much as they did before.”


The Rockhampton region has about 16,207 people aged over 65.

25% of older people want to retire as early as possible.

27% will be forced to work into their 70s due to money problems.

42% say it will hard to cope doing their job at 70.

40% of people want to keep working because it’s good for their health.

Source: Galaxy Research; University of Adelaide Public Health Information Development Unit

Source:  News Mail Bundaberg

Whatever your age, to stay on top of things in a fast-changing world, you have to learn new skills. For an increasing number of individuals, figuring out how to become an entrepreneur later in life is one of them.

More and more mature employees are realizing that to move on from where they are, they need to cast off the burden of employment and reinvent themselves as “silver entrepreneurs” with businesses of their own.

Much of the recent rise in self-employment in the United Kingdom from 2008 to 2013 (some 84 percent) can be attributed to those 50 and older, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation reported in 2009 that in the decade prior, entrepreneurial activity in the United States “the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-64 age group.”

Entrepreneurship is not just a young person’s game. And far from being a sign of midlife crisis, leaving behind the apparent safety of employment when you’re 50 makes perfect sense.

The following eight points are worth considering and might change your outlook as you ponder a possible move from older employee to “silverpreneur.”

Related: Why Being 50 (or Older) Is Just Right for Entrepreneurship

1. Having a job no longer offers security.

Being in a job doesn’t make you secure. That’s the hard truth that many have had to confront in the years since the recent financial crisis. And just because the economy is recovering well, doesn’t mean the same crisis could not happen happen.

Recent world events show how quickly things can change, often with unknown consequences. Which is why more and more companies are looking to build flexibility into their business by taking on fewer permanent staff and looking to ensure they can shed jobs easily should the worst happen.

2. Your current job is disappearing.

Even if you are not being pushed out of your job right now, you won’t find it as easy to find a similar post, at a similar level, as you once might have. That’s because the role you currently perform is increasingly being replaced by new and different roles, or will be given to younger newcomers willing to work hard for less.

3. Technology innovations are arriving faster.

There was a time when robots were thought of as science fiction. Today, robots (or at least sophisticated software programs) are performing tasks that used to be done by highly trained and skilled professionals.

Related: How Old Is Too Old to Start a Business? The Answer May Surprise You. (Infographic)

4. Knowledge and experience are an advantage.

Soon, as many as four generations will be working together, meaning that your career ladder could be cut off prematurely by younger techno-savvy employees who might even become your boss.

But your wealth of experience need not go to waste if you choose to start up your own business. Other Kauffman Foundation research foundthat many founders of successful companies didn’t set them up until they 40 or older. So see your age and the experience you have accumulated — from wherever it comes — as an advantage.

5. Setting up a business is easier.

It’s easier than ever these days to set up a business, given the low cost of technology. You no longer have to set up a bricks-and-mortar business with expensive premises or lots of stock to pay for. You can now succeed with an online business with just a good idea and a small budget to spend on IT equipment and software.

Lower startup costs mean less risk, so it should be easier to convince others that becoming a silverpreneur isn’t madness. And the best time to get going is while you still have a job.

6. Raising capital is possible.

If you need funding, you may well have some financial reserves to draw on or be in a strong position to borrow, as you have a financial track record.

And with several crowd-funding platforms to chose from, you can raise money even more quickly and easily. You just need a compelling pitch for others to believe in your idea and help you succeed.

7. A comfortable retirement is often just a dream.

Retirement is now an outdated concept that you need to revise. It’s not just a case that the retirement age is continuing to creep up or that many are need to keep working to maintain a lifestyle. The fact is, you should be looking to make a contribution in some form throughout your life so as to make you feel younger for longer.

It just doesn’t make sense to throw away all your knowledge and experience just because of a particular date on the calendar. With life spans increasing, you could easily change your career when you’re 50 or 60 or embark on an exciting entrepreneurial venture for the next 20 to 30 years.

So why be stuck in a dull retirement when you could take control of your life and do something interesting, rewarding and fulfilling while contributing to society at the same time?

8. Life is about continuous learning.

One way to improve quality of life as people live longer by keeping thier brains active through continuous learning. The day you stop learning is the day you start becoming old, independently of your biological age.

There will be those who tell you that entrepreneurs are born and not made. When it comes to serial superstars like Richard Branson, that may be true, but there are more than enough examples of mature professionals who successfully set out on their own in later years. Look at Ray Kroc who set up McDonald’s at age 52.

So, if you want to be a silverpreneur, what should you do?

Simply change your mindset. You’re probably thinking you’re too set in your ways and that you can’t possibly do something so radical. I’m here to tell you that you can — if you want. Life is shaped by the decisions you make.

So stop labeling yourself according to your age or what you’ve done for a career to date. By seeing yourself as a manager, accountant or marketer, you’re subconsciously telling yourself that’s what you are and this stops your reinvention.

If you need business training or guidance (and you almost certainly will if you’ve only ever been an employee), find the right courses and programs that will give you the needed skills. Better still, find a mentor, someone with business experience to provide feedback about what you’re doing or intending to do. You’ll learn faster and avoid costly mistakes.

And with economies around the world still so uncertain becoming a “silverpreneur” is the best retirement plan because only then will you be in control of your life and your future.

Source:  Entrepreneur