The federal budget handed down last month brought a range of belt tightening measures set to impact many Australians, with the aim to bring the budget to surplus by 2024. While the cost cutting measures were condemned by many, there are a range of announcements made designed to boost the productivity of Australia’s workforce and maintain low unemployment levels.
One of the measures that have been welcomed has been the introduction of subsidies that have been designed to boost hiring of workers over 50, and as the pension age has been raised to 70, there is no doubt a need to look ways to provide opportunities for mature workers who will need to stay in the workforce for longer.
Beginning from July 1, employers will be able to access subsidies of up to $10,000 paid if the staff member is employed for two years which is one strategy designed to boost mature aged workers.
Perceptions of Older Workers
It’s an unfortunate fact that older workers are often overlooked for positions that they are well suited, often in favour of younger candidates. This comes from unfounded and sometimes unfair perceptions about older workers. These include generalisations that older workers are more difficult to train, and may have health issues, or might demand more flexibility.
But with an ageing population and the number of younger workers entering the workforce decreasing, there is likely to be a change in some of these perceptions of the capabilities of older workers. Some of the research conducted about older workers actually dispels some of the commonly held attitudes about older workers.
Reasons to consider hiring a mature workforce
- Mature workers come with them a bank of experience, skills and knowledge. Future labour shortages will require tapping into the skills and experience of older workers for many businesses to stay competitive. Policies should be developed now to look at ways to recruit these workers, and retain them.
- Evidence shows that mature workers can deliver a cost benefit of $1956 per year to their employer compared to other workers who have higher rates of absenteeism, lower retention rates, increased training costs and deliver a smaller return on investment.¹
- Increased loyalty. There is evidence that older workers are 5 times less likely to change jobs than their younger counterparts and this loyalty keeps skills in the business, and ultimately saves on numerous costs.
- It’s also unlawful to discriminate against older workers on the basis of age. A policy that addresses discrimination in the hiring process should address ageism, and will protect your business against any possible action.
¹ Elizabeth Brooke, Paper commissioned by JobsEast for the conference Profiting from maturity: The social and economic costs of mature-age unemployment , Melbourne (2000), The Economic Benefits of Maintaining an Age Balanced Workforce
With the added incentive introduced by the federal government to hire mature workers, harnessing the skills of mature workers should be considered by human resources departments around Australia.