Online job adverts discriminatory

by 04 Mar 2008

ONE-HUNDRED-AND-EIGHTY-EIGHT online job advertisements requested “young” candidates to apply, as opposed to just one ad which encouraged “mature-aged”candidates to apply, according to a recent study of online job ads.

Presenting the findings of a survey at the recent IQPC recruitment and retention summit in Sydney, Louise Rolland, executive director of business advisory services for Ernst & Young, looked at how employers could improve retention rates by using a “life-course theory”.

For every new young person entering the labour market today there are seven workers over 45 years of age available. Yet studies show that recruiters continue to aim for and recruit young people, despite the tide of demography.

“There is still a lot of tacit discrimination in job advertisements,” said Rolland. “Employers should look at the age of their recruits and ask themselves is there a reason you are recruiting that age group.”

In order to beat the talent challenge, Rolland said employers must look at the full breadth and depth of the talent pool. She outlined other areas of untapped opportunities in the recruitment sector, such as improving women’s participation, reducing health and wellbeing-related loss, and skill development across working life.

In order to tap into these talent pools, organisations must align their approach to the changing demographics of today’s workforce. For example, studies show that the current cohort of workers 45 years of age and over are prepared to work for longer, but under certain conditions. Employers must develop a much deeper understanding of these conditions in order to attract and retain skilled staff, Rolland said.

Scott Scandefur, executive director of human resources for GM Holden, who also presented at the conference, spoke about the significance of career development workshops as a key retention tool for GM Holden. He said that the most important element of retention is for employees to know where they are going within the company.

“Career issues were cited as the number one reason for attrition in GM Holden. We find when we do this part right (career development workshops), we don’t have much of a problem,” he said.

GM Holden experienced a drop in attrition rates from 9 per cent in 2005 to just over 5 per cent in 2007, and Scandefur attributed this success to a multifaceted approach in beating the attrition rates.

Exit interviews and the analysis of the data after the face-to-face interview were critical to the company’s retention strategy.

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