Recruiting older workers affords a range of mutual benefits
By 2056 it is expected that 25% of Australia’s population will be over the age of 65 compared to 13% in 2006 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013).
The Australian Research Council published a paper by Comik and Piggott (2012), ”Mature-age labour force participation: Trends, barriers, incentives, and future potential” which discussed that a 5% increase in the labour participation of 50-69 year olds would equate to a 10% increase in GDP.
There are many other advantages in retaining workers, as several studies have found:
- Invaluable corporate memory
- Strong work ethic
- Appreciation of their jobs
- Took few sick days
- Overall work ability did not differ with age
- Presentable, punctual, responsible and wise.
Other research has found that some of Australia’s happiest and healthiest Australians are those over 60 and working part-time (HILDA survey). The evidence is compelling: for most individuals, working improves general health and wellbeing and reduces psychological distress. (AFOEM)
There is also a strong association between higher educational attainment and subsequent labour participation rates, as indicated by the graph below.
Conversely, research has found that older workers have difficulties with new technology and that they are set in their ways.
With an ageing workforce, it’s important we adopt a positive attitude and look for ways that maximise the strengths of older workers.
Employers should consider the benefits of recruiting and retaining older workers to their organisations. Employees can increase their appeal to employers and improve their ability to continue working into older age, through education and positive attitudes to technology.