With the Australian budget announcement coming up, skyrocketing house prices in Sydney and jobless rates at a steady 6.2% (as of April 2015), attention has turned on the Australian workforce and our need to keep in steady gainful employment to support ourselves as we age. With the full pension under continuous scrutiny and tightening and cost of living on the increase, it has become apparent that superannuation and/or the pension may not cut it when we are living well into our 80’s and beyond.
For most of us, this means working longer. But do companies and businesses want us? Here’s why they should and why older workers are good for business according to the Australian Human Rights Commission:
Mature age workers will cost the business more for their experience: not so! In fact, older employees are likely to stick around and add value for much longer than their counterparts. Workers aged over 55 are five times less likely to change jobs compared with workers aged 20-24, reducing ongoing recruitment and training costs.
Mature age workers may be prone to health problems. We are, in fact, living much longer and are in better shape than ever before and mature workers are much less likely to take sick leave. Life expectancy is 78 years for men and 83 years for women with 75.5% of Australians aged 55-64 reporting their health as ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. ABS data also indicates that mature age workers are less likely to experience work-related injuries compared to younger workers.
There is no long term benefit to training and developing mature age workers. As our population matures, businesses will commercially benefit from investing in mature aged employees. Research shows around the globe that those countries that invest in their ageing workforce have a greater representation of mature aged workers participating in paid work than those that don’t.
Younger workers are better performers than mature age workers. Actually, verbal skills, communication and intelligence remain unchanged as a person ages according to a study of OECD nations. A better predictor of productivity is experience, not age.
Mature age workers won’t be able to adapt to changes and new technology. Supportive training is invaluable to mature employees in adopting new technologies and with our 55-64 year old being the fastest growing users of IT, the hit rate of success is pretty good.
Overall, investing in our workforce, more mature or younger, can only benefit Australian workers, businesses and the nation as a whole.