Monday, June 10, 2013

What is it with older workers?

For the life of me, I just don’t understand the discrimination of older workers. This is based on my healthy respect of anyone older than me and my willingness to learn from them. I also hope that I won’t be discriminated against once I reach 50 and over!

Last year, the Federal Government offered $1,000 to employers if they hired anyone over 50 years of age. Apart from it being an insult and a disgrace, $1,000 hardly covers the cost of bringing on a new employee.
So what are some of the typical negative perceptions of older workers?
  • They have limited IT knowledge;
  • They are generally unwilling to accept direction from younger managers;
  • They have an inability to take a company to ‘the next level’ because they are no longer hungry for success.
Really? I come across candidates in their twenties that fit this description.

It may surprise you that older workers are computer savvy, don’t always want to be the leaders anymore, and have so much life and work experience that could be utilised in your growing business.

As a business owner, it is important for you to understand the labour market issues that may impact on your hiring strategy and may encourage you to start hiring more older workers:
  • Australia is getting older. In four years, 20 per cent of Australia’s population will be over age 65. The 2010 Intergenerational Report estimates 8.1 million Australians (around 26% of our population) will be over age 65 by 2050, pushing the ratio of working Australians to retirees down to just 2.7 to 1.
  • Labour force participation tends to drop off as people near retirement age. In the 60-64 age group, half of women and one-third of men are not working. Over the past 5 years though, this trend has been changing due to the global financial crisis and peoples’ superannuation balances declining - more retirees are heading back to work to make up for the losses in their superannuation funds.
  • Australians are living longer. Our superannuation must last for a longer period of time so people are cautious about leaving the workplace too early. Baby boomers who were 65 in 2010, can expect to live another 18.7 years (the female baby boomers are even better placed – they can expect another 21.8 years). So baby boomers who retire at 65 can expect to spend 21% of their life in retirement.
  • According to Deloitte Access Economics’ “Where is your next worker” report, older Australians have the lowest turnover, the least number of sick days and the best safety record.

1 comment:

Shane said...

Well said. We wonder the same thing as the owners of the largest and fastest growing age-friendly jobs board in Australia It amazes us that some employers with huge resources behind them just don't get 'it'. The research is there and has been for over 10 years in this country but unfortunately ageism and discrimination is alive and well. The experience, problem solving, life skills and loyalty that is not being utilised in this country due to myths is unbelievable. Thank you for highlighting it, yet again.