Increasing numbers of older employees are staying on at work

It is now confirmed. The age of entitlement to the aged pension will rise to 70 by 2035. But will the jobs be there for those who want & need to work? Currently if you lose your job after the age of 55 it can take on average 75 weeks to get another job.

Many older employees are feeling vulnerable, insecure & anxious in a world where they see colleagues facing redundancy. From talking with employees across a range of sectors, we know that there is a low level of financial literacy & preparedness for a future beyond work.

For employers the number & proportion of older employees will only increase. This brings significant risks & challenges. This trend will only accelerate over the next decade. Older workers are staying on at work longer & in greater numbers. They are staying on from choice & by necessity. However many of the traditional workplace responses are now proving inadequate.

From our work with large & small organisations across a wide range of sectors in both Australia & New Zealand we are clear that a new approach is required. One that is strategic & addresses the real business issues employers face. As one major employer said, “The traditional approach of running seminars, offering flexible working etc. have been good for our employees but they haven’t assisted us as an executive deal with the very real challenges we face from the ageing of our workforce.

The ageing of the workforce is in our view primarily a business issue. The challenge must be owned, understood & managed by the Executive & Board. The goal has to be to create an age friendly workplace culture that manages risk & retains, attracts & values people at all life stages.

Partners in Change is pleased to be working with Wellness Designs. Together we would welcome the opportunity to assist organisations in developing strategies to manage the risks & address the operational challenges they will increasingly face from the ageing of the workforce.

The issue will not go away. As one demographer puts it, “Some people still have their heads in the sand & view continued population growth as a given.  While we have economic cycles, we do not have demographic cycles & that can be difficult for people to accept. This is a new & permanent reality. Overall growth is coming to an end.”

Geoff Pearman, Managing Director, Partners in Change

Geoff Pearman is the Managing Director & Principal Consultant of Partners in Change, a Trans Tasman organisational & workforce development consultancy.

Geoff specialises in assisting organisations to strategically position themselves for the age-wave. He uses innovative approaches to assist organisations meet the challenge of boomers remaining in the workforce & to meet upcoming skills shortages. Geoff also offers consultancy & runs workshops in stakeholder engagement.