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AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RESOURCES INSTITUTE | MATURE AGE WORFORCE PARTICIPATION 2012
KEY FINDINGS AT A GLANCE

Against a backdrop that has seen Australia’s total-factor productivity in a state of decline for the best part of the last decade, Australian Governments of both persuasions have committed themselves to maximising the workforce participation of working-age citizens, including employees older than 55 years of age who may be either considering retirement or already have left the workforce.

In that context these findings to a survey sample of HR practitioners conducted late last year gives some sort of snapshot about how organisations are thinking about the issue of mature age employment and what is happening in those workplaces.

The findings reveal a mixed bag of data that includes half the sample of 1212 AHRI members reporting that the departure of older workers has caused loss of key knowledge and skills over the past year, and eight out of ten saying they would like to see steps taken to retain older workers. At the same time more than a third of respondents believe their organisation is biased against the employment of older workers.

Approximately half the respondents to the survey (46 per cent) report that the departure of older workers from their workplace in the last year has caused loss of key knowledge or skills.

Approximately one-fifth of respondents (22 per cent) report that the departure of older workers has caused the organisation to be less competitive.

More than eight out of ten respondents (83 per cent) would like to see steps taken within their organisation to retain older workers.

Approximately one-third of respondents (35 per cent) believe their organisation is biased to some extent against the employment of older workers.

Nearly half of respondents (49 per cent) believe their organisation would be disposed to support government initiatives to recruit a greater proportion of older workers.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (62 per cent) report their organisation does not distinguish between older and younger workers when deciding who to keep on the payroll.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (61 per cent) oppose the idea of the government raising the retirement age to retain greater numbers of older workers.

More than two-thirds of respondents (67 per cent) believe the retention of older workers would benefit productivity, with 26 per cent believing it would have no impact on productivity.

Given limited choices, respondents would prefer their organisation to source recruits from unemployed older workers (49 per cent), skilled immigrants (26 per cent), unemployed youth (13 per cent), unemployed Australians with a disability (7 per cent) and unemployed Australians from indigenous backgrounds (7 per cent).

More than three quarters of respondents (77 per cent) report retaining older workers as a necessary precaution against the sudden loss of essential knowledge and skills.

Only a little more than a third of respondents (37 per cent) report being certain that negative perceptions in their workplace about older workers have no influence on recruitment decisions.

 

 

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