Monday, February 6, 2012

Mature aged workers - an unrealised resource?

An article from the AMMA - the Australian Mines and Metals Association ran a discussion on mature age workers on LinkedIn. Our MSQ General Manager Erik Salonen replied with the following points, which were then used on the AMMA site. Here is the article.

Last week The Australian ran an article about the economic benefits of having older people in the workforce. While Australia struggles with a skills shortage, many other countries are tapping into a particularly rich vein of talent, the over 50 market.

Erik Salonen, General Manager at Manufacturing Skills Queensland, wasn’t one bit surprised at the report. He believes mature aged workers play an important part of any organization, particularly because of the vast amount of intellectual property they take with them when they leave.

Flexible work options

Mr. Salonen advises a key method of attracting and retaining mature age workers is providing flexible work options to accommodate caring responsibilities, health issues or a desire for a different work/life balance. Mature age employees can often be encouraged to stay on when offered:
  • phased retirement
  • part-time work
  • job sharing opportunities
  • work from home arrangements
"In particular, phased retirement enables mature age employees to continue to participate in the workplace, allowing employers to retain employees - and their skills and knowledge - for longer than they would otherwise."

“Many options are available for phased retirement, depending on the needs of employees, as well as business and operational requirements.”

Options for Phased Retirement

Mr Salonen shares the following options employers can provide to mature age employees:
  • Transition from full-time to part-time work in their current job
  • Take alternative job opportunities on either a full-time or part-time basis
  • ‘Retire’ from the organisation and contract back
  • Work full-time with additional flexible leave and flexible hours entitlements
Business benefits of phased retirement
  • Retention of skilled employees in the workforce for a longer period of time
  • Preservation of organisational and/ or corporate knowledge
  • Provision of a system for effective succession management
  • Creation of a flexible and responsive workforce
  • Increased return on investment in training and development
Help for mature age workers

Employers are being encouraged to hire and train older workers under a Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) government scheme called Experience +. Over the next three years, 7500 workers aged 50 years and over with trade relevant skills but no formal qualifications will have the opportunity to have their skills assessed and formally recognised. Assistance is available for workers needing an apprenticeships or traineeships. Industries given priority include Construction, Manufacturing, Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services. These grants are also available for small business owners.

For more information, check out:
It’s all good news for older workers looking for jobs in mining, energy jobs or oil and gas jobs. As the global resource industry feels pressure to find skilled workers, the biggest source may well be the people who have powered the economy for the past 40 years.

What is your experience with mature age workers?

Click here to see the webpage or comment below.

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