Saturday, September 29, 2012

Survey: Hiring Managers Prefer Mature Workers

According to a survey, conducted by Braun Research, Inc on behalf of Adecco Staffing US, hiring managers are three times more likely to hire a mature worker (60%) than a Millennial (20%). In addition, 91% of the hiring managers across a range of industries say they view mature workers as reliable and 88% considering them professional.

In the "Adecco Staffing Mature Worker Survey," found that there were hiring barriers for both age groups. While 39% of hiring managers didn’t see any challenges in hiring mature workers, compared to 27% for Millennials, 39% said the greatest challenge to hiring mature workers is their difficulty in learning/adapting to new technology, while--with respect to Millennials--46% of hiring managers viewed their unknown long-term commitment to a company as the biggest possible liability.

The survey also noted problems for both groups in the interview process:
Specifically, 51 percent of hiring managers cited mature workers’ biggest interview mistake as “high salary/compensation demands,” followed by 48 percent that cited “overconfidence in their abilities and experience.” For Millennials, the biggest mistakes were “wearing inappropriate interview attire” (75 percent) and “posting potentially compromising content on social media channels” (70 percent).
Source: Press Release (September 26, 2012)

Report: Long-Term Implications of Aging Population on United States

In a congressionally-mandated report on the aging of the U.S. population and its economic consequences for the country, particularly for federal programs that support the elderly, the National Research Council finds that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are on unsustainable paths, and the failure to remedy the situation raises a number of economic risks. However, "Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population" also looked at issues about working and retirement and reports that:
  • there is substantial potential for increased labor force participation at older ages, which would boost national output, slow the draw-down on retirement savings, and allow workers to save longer; and
  • longer working lives would have little effect on employment opportunities for younger workers, productivity, or innovation.
According to Ronald Lee, professor of demography and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-chair of the committee that authored the report, "[t]he nation needs to rethink its outlook and policies on working and retirement.... Although 65 has conventionally been considered a normal retirement age, it is an increasingly obsolete threshold for defining old age and for setting benefits for the elderly."

In addition, the report suggests that workers can better prepare for retirement by planning ahead and adapting their saving and spending habits.

A summary of the report is also available.

Source: National Research Council News Release (September 25, 2012)

Monday, September 17, 2012

United Kingdom: Rise in Older Workers and in Employer Fears of Cost of Health Issues

According to a survey from Aviva, companies in the United Kingdom are already starting to see a change in their workforce demographics resulting from elimination of the default retirement age, prompting fears that aging workforce health issues will affect their company. "Aviva’s Health of the Workplace" reports that 29% of employers are already seeing a rise in the average age of employees, 37% of employers expect to see their workforce get older in the future, and 38% believe that ageing workforce health issues will impact their company. Aviva does note, however that 50% of employers believe there are positive benefits for individuals working past the traditional retirement age.
A quarter (24%) of employers are concerned that an increase in the numbers of older employees will see sickness absence rates rise. A similar proportion of employers (26%) were concerned that older employees would be absent with more serious conditions than their younger colleagues. Not surprisingly, nearly three-quarters (70%) of employers believe that health issues in the workplace will increase because older employees suffer from different medical complications to younger employees.
Employers also note that they will need to respond to these concerns, 29% saying they would need to offer different health advice, 18% that they would need to offer different health benefits, and 23% that they would need training to help spot signs of serious illness, such as dementia. In addition, 36% realized they may need to introduce flexible working hours for older employees.

Source: Aviva News Release (September 27, 2012)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ukraine: Age Discrimination in Hiiring, Government Incentives for Hiring Older Workers Coming

According to published reports, a survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Social Studies has found that more than a quarter of Ukrainians say that they have suffered age-based discrimination while trying to get a job. In addition, the Kharkiv Institute of Social Studies, analyzing 7,000 employment ads, found that 15% of all printed ads and 58 percent of online ads contain age requirements for job seekers.

Daryna Shevchenko's article in the Kyiv Post reports that "experts say that employers fear hiring older people because they are viewed as less creative, less diligent, less efficient and more demanding as far as benefits go."
ay that employers fear hiring older people because they are viewed as less creative, less diligent, less efficient and more demanding as far as benefits go.
A law going into effect in 2013 may not change the lax discrimination laws, but will provide an incentive to hire older workers:
The new law that will come into effect in 2013 bans employers from demanding any private information about job seekers. It also guarantees that the government will subsidize anyone aged over 45 with 15 or more years of working experience who need to learn a new skill to become more employable.

Iryna Akimova, deputy head of the president’s administration, said the government will issue a voucher worth Hr 11,000 for a person to receive new training. She also said that the government will exempt companies from paying the single social tax for a year if they hire older employees, those who are raising disabled children and young people entering the job market.
Source: Kyiv Post "Employers shun older applicants" (September 13, 2012)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CareerBuilder Survey Finds Generational Differences in Workplace

CareerBuilder has reached the results of a national poll identifying generational differences in work styles, communication and changing jobs. Among other things, the survey reports that 34% of U.S. workers say their boss is younger than they are, and 15% say they work for someone who is at least ten years younger. "While most workers said it isn’t difficult to work for a younger boss, differences in work styles, communication and expectations illustrate the changing nature of office life."

Specifically, CareerBuilder compares older workers (those 55 and over) and younger workers (those 25 to 34) and finds, among other things:
  • Communications: the older are more likely to prefer face-to-face contact (60% compared to 55%), while the younger are more likely to prefer text and e-mail (35% compared to 28%).
  • Career paths: Younger workers tend to view a career path with a “seize any opportunity” mindset, while older workers are more likely to place value in loyalty and putting in the years before advancement.
  • Working hours: Younger workers are more likely to log shorter hours--eight hours or less--than workers 55 and older (64% versus 58%) and are more open to flexible schedules (29% versus 20%).
Source: CareerBuilder Press Release (September 13, 2012)

Pew Researchers Find Delayed Retirement of Older Workers Does Not Harm Younger Workers

The Pew Charitable Trusts have published an issue brief exploding the he "lump-of-labor" theory, which holds to the notion that younger and older workers are engaged in a zero-sum game for a fixed number of jobs. Instead, according to "When Baby Boomers Delay Retirement,
Do Younger Workers Suffer?,"
there is no evidence that employment by Baby Boomers negatively impacted the labor force activity of younger workers.

Among other things, the brief reports that:
  • an increase in older workers’ employment has been associated with an increase in younger workers’ employment rate and hours worked;
  • this relationship between older and younger workers’ labor force behavior also holds true within states;
  • this relationship does not vary by education level or by gender; and
  • older workers’ employment has no negative impact on the hourly wages or annual incomes of youth.
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts Research Analysis (September 13, 2012)

Survey Reports Generations in Workplace Respect Each Other

In advance of its September 28, 2012 symposium on “America’s Aging Workforce: A Fairfax County EDA Symposium,” the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority has release the results of a survey it commissioned, finding that, despite a demographic shift that is making the nation’s workforce older, working Americans from different generations--Baby Boomers and their Gen X and Millennial counterparts--value each other in the workplace to a surprisingly high degree. Specifically, "[m]ore than nine out of 10 of those surveyed agreed with the statement: 'the best workforce is one that has a good contingent of younger and older workers,' with 92 percent of employees aged 18-34 and 95 percent of employees aged 55+ concurring."

Of employees aged 18-34, 69% said that both older workers and younger workers were equally valuable in their own right, a sentiment echoed by 78% of employees aged 55+ and 77% or those aged 35-54. In addition, both workers and their managers agreed that no amount of enthusiasm can replace experience in the workplace.

While most of those surveyed believe that their company’s leadership is prepared for an aging workforce, with more managers (70%) than rank-and-file workers (59%) thinking that is the case, there was evidence that stereotypes persist: "Most managers and workers agree that, in general, older workers are more resistant to change in the workplace. Younger employees are much more likely (80 percent) to think so than their middle-aged (71 percent) and older (62 percent) colleagues."

Source: Fairfax County Economic Development Authority News Release (September 13, 2012)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

United Kingdom: AgeUK Calls for Mandating Flexible Workplaces

AgeUk has issued a report calling for every worker to be able to do their job flexibly--including working from home, doing flexitime or different working hours, or simply being able to swap shifts--unless a business can justify otherwise. According to "", "an important way to unleash the full potential of Britain’s older workers, many of whom are unable to work conventional hours because of caring responsibilities and the need to balance other personal issues with work, is to change the UK’s traditional and more rigid approach to work."

Among the changes that AgeUK is calling for are for all new and prospective employees to automatically have the right to request flexible working, instead of having to wait until 26 weeks in the job before making a request. Currently, "far too many people aged 50 and over are locked out of the job market because they are unable to work conventional hours, often because they have to care for a relative or have health issues."

Among other findings published in the report:
  • 38% of those in employment aged 50 plus worked flexibly in 2010, up from 30% in 2005, but the figures hide the lack of flexible working in various industries.
  • Older workers in the public sector are most likely to work flexibly.
  • People in lower supervisory and routine jobs are less likely to be granted flexible working than those in managerial or professional roles.
  • Carers are less likely to be able to access flexible working options than other groups, for example those coming back from maternity leave.
  • 25% of carers under the age of 70 report that caring responsibilities affect their work. Of these, 39% left employment altogether.
Source: AgeUK Press Release (September 11, 2012)

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Book: "Mid and Late Career Issues: An Integrative Perspective"

The University of Florida has announced the publication of Mid and Late Career Issues: An Integrative Perspective," which finds that older workers learn more quickly and have more drive than some employers might believe. Based on a synthesis of the limited literature on the topic as well as numerous in-depth interviews with older workers and recent retirees, the authors challenge the stereotypes associated with older workers, such as they are more difficult to train and they lack energy compared with younger colleagues.

The book is co-authored by Mo Wang, an associate professor of management and co-director of the Human Resource Research Center at the Warrington College of Business Administration, Deborah A. Olson, an associate professor of management and leadership at the University of La Verne (Calif.), and Kenneth Shultz, a professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernadino.

According to the book, older workers are often better at certain types of work, such as customer service, because they are better equipped to deal with emotional aspects of the job. Experiences such as raising children and caring for elderly parents provide older workers with the skills to deal with emotional obstacles. Such life experience also benefits workers when they change jobs or face layoffs.
“We really found no basis to argue that older workers are harder to train than younger workers,” Wang said. “This stereotype often contributes to employers’ unwillingness for hiring older workers.”

Wang said that when workers reach their early 40s, their career priorities could change. No longer preoccupied with advancement, older workers reassess their position and value.

“When you get to be 40 or 45, your future in your organization becomes clear,” Wang said. “You’re thinking less about climbing the career ladder. You begin to think of other ways to have a legacy.”

Source: University of Florida News Release (September 7, 2012)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Australia: IAG Chief Addresses Diversity, Harnessing Energy of Older Workers

Mike Wilkins, Managing Director and CEO, Insurance Australia Group (IAG), addressing the Australian Human Rights Commission, believes that while there are things government can do to help make employment a more viable option for older workers, business has the responsibility to help change community attitudes around older workers and to walk the talk.

In describing the diversity initiatives undertaken by IAG, Wilkins pointed out that "diversity is really about diversity of thought" even though "diversity of gender, ethnicity and age are positive lead indicators of a healthy organisation." To this end, IAG ran unconscious bias sessions with its leaders to help them recognize their thought process when they make employment decisions, so that, for example, one doesn't automatically assume that an older person may not have the technical nous required in a modern workplace.

In addition to regularly promoting and celebrating the achievements and long service milestones of its employees, IAG has an established range of policies, programs, and practices to respond to the demographic challenge, largely around the need for flexibility that older workers frequently want.

With respect to government initiatives, Wilkins endorsed efforts to reform the superannuation arrangements so as not to discourage people from remaining in or re-entering the workforce, suggested possible subsidies for older workers who want to take on mentoring roles and tax breaks to make it more appealing for older workers to re-enter the workforce, and applauded the Queensland and Western Australian governments for removing the age limit on their workers compensation schemes and recommended that all states and territories do the same.

Source: Insurance Australia Group Media Release (September 3, 2012)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

United Kingdom: Illness Forces Many Older Workers To Stop Working Before Retirement Age

The United Kingdom's Trades Union Congress (TUC) has released an analysis of official labor market data showing that disability and poor health are preventing nearly half a million people approaching retirement from working, a figure that the TUC says will only increase as the state pension age starts to rise. Specifically, the TUC research finds that the employment rates for those approaching the current SPA are low, with just 54% of men aged 60-64 and 62% of women aged 56-60 in work.

As nearly two in five of those approaching retirement age are economically inactive, with long-term sickness and disability cited as the main reason for then not working, the TUC argues that the UK government is wrong to raise the state pension age without first addressing the health inequalities that are forcing many people out of work well before they're able to draw their pension. Instead, the government should focus on tackling age discrimination, extending access to flexible working and supporting those who are actively seeking work to re-enter the jobs market. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
While more people are working past their state pension age, often as the only way to get a decent retirement income, a far greater number of older people are unable to work due to ill-health or because they are trapped in long-term unemployment.

Accelerating the rise in the state pension age will simply push more people into poverty. We will end up with a new limbo zone for people in their mid-60s who are too young for a pension, but too old to have any realistic chance of a job. With a benefits system that gets meaner and tougher each year, even 66 year olds who have worked for decades before stopping work will be treated as work-shy scroungers.

By raising the state pension age and ignoring persistent health inequalities, the government risks overseeing a dramatic rise in pensioner poverty.
Source: Trades Union Congress News Release (August 30, 2012)