A significant challenge facing Australia is the ageing population, and the challenge has led policy-makers to consider how older workers can be kept in the workforce.
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), has this week released a new book of research essays which have been written since a roundtable held in Canberra in May, when the issue was hotly debated by industry stakeholders.
Themes to arise from the roundtable included the need to consider the diversity of older workers, the challenges of low literacy and numeracy skills for some older workers, discrimination and stereotypes, and the recognition that not all older workers want to keep working.
In turn, the issues addressed in the new release, Older workers: research readings reflect the central challenges, and Francesca Beddie, general manager research NCVER, commented that while some older workers can manage their transition into retirement, others are not in a position to choose when and how they move out of the workforce.
“We must also remember that not all older workers want to continue working,” Beddie added.
However, research from Mercer’s 2011 What’s Working survey has found older workers are feeling left out of career development opportunities, with only 40% of 55-64 year olds feeling they have sufficient opportunities for growth and development.
In addition to opening up greater career opportunities for Australia’s older and experienced workers,
Rob Bebbington, head of Mercer’s Human Capital business in Australia and New Zealand, said employers need to think ahead and enforce adequate succession planning as Baby Boomers begin to edge towards retirement age in the coming years.
According to the Mercer findings, HR directors/leaders need to look closely at where their older employees are best placed within the organisation, and where their skills and experience can be shared and optimised to prepare the next generation of leaders and managers.