Archive for November, 2011
On Monday in her speech at the National Convention Centre in Canberra (‘Australia’s Welfare 2011′), Susan Ryan called for new visionary thinking when it comes to mature age workers.
We need to create a more fluid working environment where we are encouraged to keep learning at intervals throughout our life cycle – in a workforce that lets us move in and out – at any age, without penalty.
Today at an employer roundtable luncheon convened by The Age Discrimination Unit in conjunction with Sageco, The Commissioner was therefore encouraged and enlightened to hear from organisations doing just this.
Organisations in attendance were at various stages of their age management journey, from building the business case through to showcasing Award winning strategies. Telstra, National Australia Bank, QBE, Service First, PepsiCo, TabCorp and 2disccover shared their thoughts, their challenges, their initiatives and the positive impact of their strategies with the group and members of The Australian Human Rights Commission team.
Catalysts for taking action were explored. What was it that made these organisations move forward in developing mature age strategies and solutions?
- the data story – including a comparison of the average age of retirement within the organisation to the national average (59)
- health and safety – in roles with a high level of physicality and an ageing workforce
- knowledge loss – key people in the business retiring and taking with them critical know-how
- a wave of premature retirements and the mention by one executive that he ‘didn’t want to drop dead two years from now!’
Attraction and recruitment. Why are more mature workers not breaking through to final offer stage?
- a triple edged sword – successful placement requires a combination of marketable mature workers, age positive recruiters, and enlightened employers
- over qualified – the assumption being made that an experienced worker is not prepared to ‘downsize’ in late career
- ‘language’ – communication used in job ads by agencies and employers screening out mature workers at application stage
Retention. What are some of the triggers for retirement and how can organisations enable working longer, but differently?
- unconscious bias – unearthing myths, assumptions and stereotypes residing amongst people leaders
- conversations – enabling authentic conversations between mature workers and their people leaders
- flexibility – throughout the life course, all ages, all stages
- culture – creating an environment where mature workers feel valued and acknowledged for their experience
…and so much more!
Older workers have always been, and will continue to be, an important part of the Australian workforce. We are on the cusp of a vastly changing demographic, and it is now necessary for older workers to remain in the workforce to support Australia’s society and economy
- The Hon Susan Ryan, Age Discrimination Commissioner
If you are after a hearty injection of all things ‘ageing workforce’ then the 2011 Older Workers and Work Ability Conference is not to be missed!
With The Hon. Wayne Swann providing the Opening Address and presentations by Professor Philip Taylor, Susan Ryan, Professor Juhani Ilmarinen, and SageCo’s own Alison Monroe, this conference is bringing together the leading international experts on older workers.
It will be a forum for the exchange of knowledge among policymakers, employers and researchers and others with an interest in workforce ageing.
I lunched last Friday with 100 others or so at South Australia’s CEDA event ‘Population Crunch’. After seven or so years of quoting Bernard’s research, it was nice to chat with the man who coins media savvy terms like ‘man drought’. Bernard’s latest book ‘The Big Tilt’ is essentially about the crunch that occurs as we have more baby boomers leaving the workforce than Gen Ys entering it. Salt’s eloquent observations and generalisations provoked a bit of a titter in the room – many of them in the Baby Boomer demographic.
It’s not new news. But it does provide another perspective to consider the social impact of this phenomenon and what it means for the workplace and baby boomers in particular. Salt talked about the need to re-engineer the space that now exists between ‘traditional retirement’ and death – a period of what could be twenty to thirty years. With our workforce participation and workforce planning glasses on, it would seem in employers’ best interests to support baby boomers to ‘re-engineer that space’.
- How to envisage life beyond the traditional retirement date
- How to create a transition to retirement.
- How to construct a portfolio career or lifestyle.
- How to work longer but differently.
- What actions to take about money, health, relationships and career
Baby boomers invented the concept of a ‘teenager’. I wonder in later life if they will invent a new name for that phase between traditional retirement and death. They may well do it with support from their employers.
Yesterday the Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten announced that the age bar for superannuation guarantee contributions would be lifted completely – updating the previous decision to raise to 75 years.
From July 2013, all employees regardless of age will receive the superannuation guarantee.
This decision has been welcomed by Susan Ryan, Age Discrimination Commissioner, who says:
It sends a strong and positive message to older employees and to their employers that age should be no barrier to equal employee rights.
This decision means that in respect of superannuation, older workers, be they over 75 or over 80, will have the same rights as all other employees.
One more move in the right direction for mature workers in Australia. Chip chip…