According to Fran Ferrier, a researcher at Monash University's Centre for the Economics of Education and Training (CEET), if the Australian economy as a whole is to avoid a mass exodus of valuable human capital, businesses will need to be flexible and provide effective skills development for older workers. "There are now few programs specifically for this group and older workers face barriers to participation including ageist employer attitudes."
While the number of people aged 45 to 64 in the workforce has grown substantially, more than 40% of Australians still leave the workforce by age 55 and 80% by age 65, and only 5% are still working at the age of 70. Ferrer says that a key issue is skills: "helping existing workers to update and extend their skills encourages them to keep working."
Ferrer cited research she conducted at CEET with Gerald Burke and Chris Selby Smith to point out that businesses that take action have much to gain. Seven case studies discussed in the study--"Skills development for a diverse older workforce"--of at-work and community-run skills development programs run for, or with a high participation rate, of older people, identified benefits to both the businesses and the individuals involved.
Source: My Small Business"New tricks, not harder ones" (August 14, 2008)