Skills not lost with age
AGE is one of the largest barriers to career development, according to new research from workplace solutions experts ManpowerGroup Solutions.
The survey polled 4500 global job seekers from influential employment markets, including Australia, to explore their attitudes to job search and career progression.
The study found Australians are more likely than American and British candidates to cite ageism as one of the top challenges they face in making career decisions - with 37% of Australian respondents citing ageism as a key barrier to overcome.
General manager at ManpowerGroup Solutions, Australia and New Zealand, Sue Howse, said the survey highlighted age as a barrier in the global workplace.
"Despite this perception, we know that employers who embrace candidates across a broad age spectrum, will benefit and are likely to create a competitive advantage in terms of addressing skills shortages,” Ms Howse said.
She said very few big businesses in Australia are capitalising on the availability of older workers, despite the clear anecdotal evidence of benefits they bring to the workplace.
"We know there are a number of 'un-retirees' or 'boomerang workers' - individuals who come out of retirement or return to work for a previous employer - who could currently fill open positions,” she said.
"In this context, embracing generational diversity to overcome talent shortages makes a lot of sense.
"It's not just about agreeing to hire older workers either. Employers need to be cognisant of intergenerational differences and accommodate work preferences of different age groups.
"For those who are willing to make the necessary adjustments at an organisational level, we know there will be a number of positive flow-on effects - from addressing skills shortages to creating diverse workplace cultures.”
With a rapidly aging population and over 65s projected to increase in numbers from 3.5 million to 5.8 million over the next 15 years, the findings of the report also suggest that helping businesses to recruit an older workforce is an economic necessity.
The research also follows a recent report suggesting an older workforce could deliver gains of $78 billion to the Australian economy through increased GDP.