Saturday, October 20, 2012

Japan: Small Employers Lead Way in Allowing Workers Past 65 To Keep Working

Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has released information showing that the proportion of companies where every employee can work until age 65 or beyond if they so wish rose to a record 48.8% in 2012, up 0.9% from 2011. However, this growth continues to be led by smaller employers. Only 24.3% of companies with 301 employees or more are allowing workers aged 65 or above to continue working, only a 0.5% from 2011.

Looking at the workers themselves, the Ministry's survey shows that 73.6% of 430,036 workers who reached retirement age in the past year were rehired, while only 1.6% of those hoping to be re-employed were not; 24.8% opted to retire.

In the Japan Times article on the report, it is noted:
Large firms will have to promptly take all necessary steps since revised legislation enacted earlier this year obliges them to let their employees continue working up to 65 years of age or older. The law was revised in view of planned changes to the public pension system, which will see the state pension eligibility age gradually raised from 60 to 65, beginning next April.
Sources: Japan Times "Record 49% of Japanese companies are letting seniors work beyond 65" (October 20, 2012); Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry Press Release (Japanese) (October 18, 2012);

Thursday, October 18, 2012

OECD Issues Reports on Country Initiatives To Stimulate Employment of Older Workers Since 2005

In a series of country notes, the OECD has evaluated the impact of recent policy reforms and measures to boost job opportunities for older workers in 21 countries which participated in the OECD 2003-05 review of ageing and employment policies. According to the OECD:
The data show a steady increase over the past decade of the employment rate of people aged over 50 in the OECD area, from 55.6% of 50-64 year-olds in 2001 to 61.2% at the end of 2011. At the same time, the effective age at which people retire has increased slightly: for men, from 63.1 in 2001 to 63.9 in 2011 and for women, 61.1 in 2001 to 62.8 in 2011. The data also reveal a striking difference in 2011 between countries in the share of people aged over 60 still working: from 63.4% in Sweden to 14.2% in Hungary (see data for countries below).
In 2006, OECD issued its report "Live Longer, Work Longer" in which it recommended steps to:
  • Strengthen financial incentives to carry on working and reducing incentives to retire early;
  • Tackle employment barriers on the side of employers, such as increasing awareness of anti-age discrimination laws; and
  • Improve the employability of older workers, such as boosting the incentives for job centres to place older unemployed job seekers in work.
More detailed analysis will become available in a chapter of the 2013 Employment Outlook in June 2013. In addition to the 21 country reports linked below, OECD issued a scorecard on older workers  in 34 OECD countries.

Source: OECD Ageing and Employment Policies (October 17, 2012)

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Canada: Report on Employment Practices and Employability of Mature Workers in Montreal

Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC) has followed up its report on the perceived challenges of mature workers throughout the greater Montreal area with a survey of employers, recruitment agencies and employment service providers to understand their perspectives on the opportunities or challenges associated with hiring a mature worker. Among other things, CEDEC's "Employment Practices and Employability of the Hidden Talent Pool: The Mature Workers Report" suggests that mature workers maintain a positive reputation in the workforce, but also reports that stakeholders mentioned several critical factors affecting English-speaking mature workers’ capacity to find employment.

For example, CEDEC reports that "employers perceive older workers as generally stable, productive, committed, responsible, and highly motivated with strong work ethics." However, it also reports that workers "have difficulty finding employment; they experience various levels of prejudice (ageism) when looking for work and are keenly aware that they are being discriminated against as a result of their age." The factors that CEDEC finds employers citing as barriers to employability include a lack of French language skills, unrealistic salary expectations, lack of technological (mostly computer) skills, a resistance to change and unwillingness to work long hours or overtime.

CEDEC recommends that:
  • the government should also be sensitized to the need to hire mature candidates for federal and provincial jobs.
  • companies should have concrete strategies for retaining mature employees in their workforce.
  • companies should understand and address the motivations and needs of mature employees while seeing the benefits of keeping mature workers on board.
Source: Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation News Release (October 5, 2012)

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Study: Recommendations to Help Pittsburgh Deal with Critical Shortage of Younger Workers

The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (TRWIB) has released a report finding that Pittsburgh's workforce is aging faster than the national average and that it is facing a critical shortage of younger workers ready to move into jobs that will become available as a result of retirements in the workforce in the next 10 years. According to "Does Aging Matter? Workforce aging and its implication for collaborative talent management in the Pittsburgh region," a “disturbing scarcity of skills” for local jobs, especially in the areas of advanced manufacturing, education, healthcare, utilities and the trades, will leave the region without an adequate supply of younger workers with the skills to move into the jobs, and the expertise of older workers will be lost unless mentoring opportunities and programs are established.

While TRWIB proposes accelerating support of regional career, vocational training and technical centers to promote these careers, it also recognizes that reengaging older workers may help.
The size of the graying workforce presents a challenge to regional prosperity--especially if not utilized. Even if the business community can improve in managing an aging workforce, they cannot prevent layoffs or voluntary resignations of mature workers. As the cohort of older workers expands, we expect to see more displaced or transitioning talent in this age group.
Accordingly, on this front, TRWIB recommends:
  • helping older unemployed workers navigate the labor market;
  • developing effective job-seeking skills;
  • use career coaching to help older workers to capitalize on their expertise and interests and to facilitate their transition into meaningful encore careers; and
  • encourage self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities by providing access to resources, training, and technical assistance for new
    entrepreneurs.
On the employer side, the report suggests:
  • companies may need to reconsider recruitment strategies, find advertising channels and an image that appeal to
    mature workers;
  • companies should learn to be more creative in generating
    opportunities for older workers who may be less productive due to a decrease of physical strength but have a substantial wealth of knowledge and skills developed within the company;
  • flexible work arrangements, phased retirement, and other innovative models.
Source: Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board News Release (October 3, 2012)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Australia: Discussion Paper Released on Legal Barriers to Employing Older Workers

The Australian Law Reform Commission has released a discussion paper for the Commission's inquiry into legal barriers to older persons participating in the workforce and other productive work. In "Grey Areas: Age Barriers to Work in Commonwealth Laws," the Commission highlights its thinking to date and puts forward proposals for law reform in the areas of recruitment and employment, work health and safety, insurance, social security, and superannuation.

For example, on the issue of recruitment, the paper notes that "Mature age job seekers face multiple and intersecting difficulties in entering or re-entering the workforce and often utilise either the national employment services system or the services of private recruitment agencies." One proposal being put forward is that "The Fair Work Ombudsman should undertake a national recruitment industry campaign to educate and assess the compliance of recruitment agencies with workplace laws, specifically with respect to practices affecting mature age job seekers and workers."

Individuals and organizations are asked to make submissions in response to the 36 proposals and 15 questions in the discussion paper. Submissions may be made until November 23, 2012 at www.alrc.gov.au/content/age-barriers-work-discussion-paper.

Source: Australian Law Reform Commission Media Release (October 2, 2012)

Monday, October 01, 2012

UN Population Fund Issues Report on Global Aging

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has released a report showing that the number of older persons is increasing faster than any other age group, with the population of over-60-year-olds expected to reach one billion within the decade. Thus, among other things, "Ageing in the Twenty-first Century: A Celebration and a Challenge" calls for urgent action by governments to address the needs of the "greying generation."
If not addressed promptly, the consequences of these issues are likely to take unprepared countries by surprise. In many developing countries with large populations of young people, for example, the challenge is that governments have not put policies and practices in place to support their current older populations or made enough preparations for 2050.
The report does acknowledge that important progress has been made by many countries in adopting new policies, strategies, plans and laws on aging. With respect to employment, the report finds that 47% of older men and nearly 24% of older women participate in the labor force. Yet, despite the contributions that a socially and economically active, secure and healthy ageing population can give to society, the report also notes that many older persons all over the world face continued discrimination, abuse and violence. The report calls for governments, civil society and the general public to work together to end these destructive practices and to invest in older people.

Source: United Nations Population Fund Press Release (October 1, 2012)