Opportunity of an ageing workforce

A growing number of ageing Australians are redefining career and life goals such as retirement. Research has shown that more and more over-65s are looking to stay in the workforce for a number of reasons.

Aside from the obvious increase in cost of living and lack of sufficient retirement funds for some, there is also an increasing number of people who want to remain active in the workforce for as long as possible. We are living longer, and healthier lives and we want to stay connected to the workforce and continue developing our skill set.

There is a unique landscape where as many as 5 generations work alongside each other in businesses. Each generation has its own set of preferences, styles, perspectives and experiences. Generational diversity has great potential and people can grow and learn from one another as they are exposed to different ideas and experiences. Employers, policy and decision makers need to start paying attention to this change in landscape and start seeing the opportunity it brings. Instead of focussing attention on attracting and educating young talent only, the focus should be on harnessing the skills older workers offer and provide the opportunity for continuous skill development.

The ageing workforce is also after flexibility like casual working hours or part-time work, which can be a very cost-effective solution for many a business. Businesses can tab into their experience on an as needs basis and because of their experience they can get the job done in less time than younger inexperienced people.

We will need to face the reality that most of us will remain in the workforce a lot longer and there is a huge opportunity to continue investing in this ageing workforce and harness their skills. Policy and decision makers need to start giving some serious thought to make the most of this opportunity and allow more over-65s to remain in the workforce on terms that suit both them and the employer.