Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Australia: Chamber Encourages Employers to Hire Older Workers and Others "Outside the Box"

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has launched a campaign to encourage employers to hire "outside the box" when they next recruit. To bolster the workforce, the ACCI says Australia needs to increase participation amongst mature aged people, women with caring responsibilities, indigenous Australians, people with a disability, and from the unemployed including youth. According to ACCI Chief Executive Peter Anderson, "With ageing demographics, sluggish productivity and forecast skill shortages, industry needs to think laterally and long term when it comes to recruitment."

As part of its campaign, ACCI has released both "Employ Outside the Box: The rewards of a diverse workforce" and "The Business Case for Recruiting and Retaining Mature Age Workers." The latter is intended to be a practical guide presenting a business case as to an employer should consider employing "outside the box" when it comes to the next hire, with a specific focus on "a significant and often highly skilled and work ready group currently 'outside the box'"--mature aged workers.
There are varying definitions of a mature aged worker, some use 45+ others 50+, with an extension of range to beyond 75 years. There are, of course, differences in approach needed for each age group as their needs may differ.

With this guide, we have tried to concentrate on the common issues. Issues that confront particularly the more senior mature aged workers includes elements of health, retirement, stage of life, impending lifestyle changes &
experience.
Among other things, the guide offers separate, multi-step advice to employers on (1) getting started by developing a strategy to recruit and retain mature aged workers, (2) keeping mature age workers that an employer already has, and (3) recruiting mature age workers. In addition, the guide offers good practices in age management, including:
Good practices should include appropriate retention and recruitment strategies to cover those who have left the workforce as well as offering attractive roles and working conditions for employees who might otherwise consider retirement.

Emphasis is placed on flexibility of workplace conditions and suitable jobs as attractors for employees (noting increased opportunities for mentoring and training roles). Retention of experience should be a prime driver.

Good practice also comprises combating age barriers & providing an environment in which each individual is able to work towards achieving his/her potential without being disadvantaged by their age.

Other key components are job recruitment and exit, training and development, suitable ergonomics and job design and positive attitudes towards mature aged workers.
Source: Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Media Release (March 20, 2012)

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