Friday, July 27, 2012

United Kingdom: Official Endorses Mid-life Career Planning To Help Working Longer

During a parliamentary debate, John Hayes, UK Minister for Skills, endorsed proposals made by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) for a mid-life career review. "NIACE has been exploring with the Departments of Business, Innovation and Skills; Work and Pensions and Health whether such a review might encourage people to stay longer and more productively in work, and ensure that they retire in circumstances and ways which make them healthy and independent in retirement." Hayes said:
"...I wanted to accept NIACE's proposal of a mid-life learning health check so that we could look at people at the age of 40 and 50 perhaps and use the national careers service to gauge when and where they could study to upskill or reskill. That there is a need for that has been argued in the sector for some time, and we have taken it on board...".
According to NIACE, the idea of the proposal is to encourage and support people to review the learning and skills they need to successfully manage the second half of their lives. "[T]here is a need for adults to review their career aspirations, training, health, finances and retirement plans before age-discrimination and ill health begin to limit choices."

NIACE also points to "Next steps: Life transitions and retirement in the 21st century," a report prepared by Lord Wei and written by Dr. Alison Hulme for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, as support for this approach.

Source: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education News Archive (July 18, 2012)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Israel: Research Finds that Professional "Vitality" Peaks at Ages 50 to 59

According to the results of research announced by the University of Haifa, managers demonstrate their highest levels of professional vitality in their 50's. In an investigation of the functionality of high-tech, engineering, and infrastructure executives, Dr. Shmuel Grimland, Prof. Yehuda Baruch, and Prof. Eran Vigoda-Gadot, found that in terms of vitality--defined as " the ability to carry out tasks with passion, vigor, and competence, and to gain satisfaction from his or her work performance", advancing age plays a significant role.

Specifically, the older the manager, the higher his or her professional vitality, reaching a peak at 50-59 and 57 being the highest point in the sample group. Then, the manager’s vitality then begins to drop.
"Our study shows that providing tools for workers to improve their professional vitality will also improve their satisfaction and will help cultivate resourceful and innovative workers. This indicates that an organization should make it a priority to provide such tools. Workers’ vitality ‘fuels’ the success of the organization, and the fact that professional vitality is preserved and actually rises well into one’s 50s indicates that organizations investing in this aspect of the workplace will be able to benefit from productive workers for many years," the researchers concluded.
Source: University of Haifa Press Release (July 15, 2012)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Singapore: Government To Focus on Career Development, not Job Placement Agency, To Help Older Workers

Responding to a question at Parliament, Tan Chuan-Jin, Singapore's Minister of State for National Development and Manpower, stated that the government recognizes that older workers often have special requirements and needs, but that a Job Development, Assessment and Placement Service for older workers is not needed. Rather, the government believes in adopting a functional approach and ensuring that existing service touchpoints are sensitive to the needs and requirements of older workers too.

Thus, the government's aid is "to attract and develop career consultants to have the right experience and personal qualities to assist a wide range of job seekers. The career consultants adopt a case management approach to help each client based on their individual needs. They carry out an in-depth assessment of each client’s capabilities and circumstances, before deciding how best to match job seekers to jobs or whether they need more training to become job ready."
While the Government will provide quality training and employment facilitation services for older workers, our efforts will have limited effect if conditions at the workplace are not conducive for older workers. Hence, we have and will continue to encourage employers to adopt age management practices in their workplaces, such as redesigning work processes to suit the physical abilities and skills of an ageing workforce. This will enable employers to be attractive to older workers in this tight labour market.
Sources: Parliament Questions Oral Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin (July 10, 2012); Today Online "Govt open to set up task force to create more jobs for elderly" (July 10, 2012)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

United Kingdom: Employers Failing at Supporting Older Workers at Retirement

According to a report prepared for Aviva, almost two-thirds of United Kingdom employers offer no tailored retirement support to their older workers. The "Aviva Real Retirement Report" finds that 64% of businesses don’t offer any tailored retirement support, even though 70% of employees who received support found it useful. In addition, the report finds that the number of employees deferring their state pension continues to increase.

Aviva notes that 56% of employers have spent money on providing work place benefits such as pensions, private medical insurance, and annual bonus, but that only 36% provide employees with guidance in the run-up to retirement:
This lack of guidance not only highlights a lack of commitment to employee benefits but is also likely to lead to a loss of vital skills from older employees. Almost a third (32%)* of those who qualify for the state pension are still looking to work – at least on a part-time basis – so by engaging with an employee’s retirement planning a business may be able to keep their valuable employees for longer.
Interestingly, the main focus if the 36% of employers who recognise the benefits of providing support to older employees is on enabling them to remain working for longer if they choose. "One in ten companies say they offer workers the option of part-time or flexi-time employment as they approach retirement, and 9% look at ways to extend the careers of their employees if this is what they wish to do."

Source: Aviva News Release (July 11, 2012)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

China: Official Proposes Pushing Retirement Age to 65 by 2045

He Ping, director of the Social Security Research Institute under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), has proposed that China should gradually push back the retirement age for both men and women to 65 by 2045. Announcing his proposal at a workshop on coping with the aging population, he said that the changes should begin in 2016 by adding one year every two years over a period of ten years.

In China, the retirement age is currently 60 for men, 55 for female civil servants and 50 for other female workers. Li Jun, an expert with the Institute of Quantitative & Technical Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), also recommended a timely increase in the retirement age. He expressed that this aim is not to promote growth but to reduce the speed of the shrinking of the overall labor force size, to weaken the anticipated increase in costs to the labor force. But he pointed out that the age of retirement is extremely important, and must be treated cautiously in policy making.
Cai Fang, director of the CASS Institute of Population and Labor Economics, argued that China can gradually push back its retirement age in response to the dramatic decline in working age population. However, Cai did indicate that the circumstances for China to extend its retirement age are yet to mature since the country's older generation usually lacks the sufficient educational background to meet the new requirements of their job positions. Therefore, it would be better for the government to adopt a flexible policy in this regard and, at the same time, provide more training opportunities for the elderly.
Sources: Morning Whistle "China should push retirement age to 65 as aging problems grow, official says" (July 2, 2012); China.org "Proposal to push retirement age to 65" (July 2, 2012); ChinaSmack "Experts Propose Increasing China’s Reitrement Age to 65" (July 2, 2012)