Older workers targeted to solve labour shortage

by 26 Aug 2010

The issue of low labour supply is causing concern among the majority of employers, with many set to look to older workers to plug the gap.

According to new research carried out by Monash University of almost 600 Queensland employers with more than 50 staff, only 23 per cent of private sector employers and 18 per cent public sector employers said they would adopt the recruiting migrant labour approach in response to skills shortages.

Instead, recruiting older workers is being considered by far more employers, with almost half in the public sector and more than 40 per cent in the private sector already targeting them.

Philip Taylor, a professor at Monash University, said the majority of both private and public sector employers anticipate an increase in the proportion of their workforces aged 50 or over in the next five years.

“A majority of employers overall and three-quarters of public sector employers in particular believe that a response to this issue is required within a five-year time horizon,” he said.

Notably though, a third of public sector employers see an immediate need to act.

“The sector has particular concerns about an imminent loss of staff due to retirement and increased sick leave due to workforce ageing. Such employers have, unsurprisingly, taken more steps to address the issue, coaching and mentoring, knowledge transfer, health and wellbeing and career development schemes being most commonly applied,” said Taylor.


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