Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Zealand: Conference Addresses Employment of Older Women

New Zealand's National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) held a conference on "Employment of Older New Zealand Women" at which, among other things, results of research were presented, showing that there's a large number working low-paid and physically demanding shift work. In "The Employment of Older NZ Women", the study commissioned by NACEW, economist Paul Callister suggests that the rates of older women in the workforce, which have shot up from 2% of those aged 65 or more 20 years ago to 15% today, could top 30% in a further 20 years.
Combining the recent trends in education with the projected demographic change shows there is a large ‘bulge’ of mid-life women workers, most of whom are working full time and many of whom are well educated, who are moving towards traditional ages of retirement. Depending on their choices and opportunities in the labour market, in the short term this may lift the employment rates of older women. But in the longer term, this group will continue ageing and will move into age groups where employment rates are very low.
While presenting various data, comparing ages, education, region, and Maori, the paper does not make any specific recommendations. However it does suggest that relatively little is known about the employment of older women, and that one important issue for further research is the relative employment related earnings of older women and men.

At the conference, Traci Houpapa, NAECW chief executive, was quoted as saying that ageism is a major barrier to older women wanting to work: "Age discrimination can also have an impact, reducing the ability of older workers to change careers later in life if issues start to occur, therefore more flexible, sustainable employment is required to enable older workers to stay in the labour force."

According to another report, Minister for Women Louise Upston said the economy was strengthening but, as the employment market tightened, there would be increasing demand from employers for on-job training for staff who did not have formal qualifications.

Sources: TVNZ One News "Concerns raised for ageing female workers" (October 22, 2014); "Working women 65 and older set to double" (October 22, 2014)

Survey Looks at "Generation 2.0" Gap between Younger and Older Employees in the Workplace, and Mentoring Needs

According to a survey conducted by Harris for Ricoh-USA, intergenerational tensions resonate in today's U.S. workplace as many younger workers question older colleagues' competence and many older workers question younger workers' commitment. Referring to this as "Generation 2.0," the survey found that:
  • 69% of those surveyed say younger workers are frustrating when it comes to work ethic;
  • 48% say the younger employees usually have to help older ones at their place of employment use technology; and
  • when workers are asked to identify which generations make the best mentors, they generally choose their own generation. In fact, those 18-34 (27%) are three times as likely as those ages 35-44 (8%), 45-54 (4%), and 55-64 (5%) to cite Gen Y (also known as Millennials) as the best.
According to Terrie Campbell, Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Ricoh Americas Corporation, "although Generation Gap 2.0 doesn't pervade the culture like the original generation gap did, it's no less a real phenomenon."
"We recommend companies take a hard look at whether their business information is working for employees of every workstyle," said Campbell. "At the same time, companies should configure their mentorship and training programs with generational differences in mind. They need to ensure that older workers have a comfort level with using technology effectively and that younger workers develop the people skills that previous generations have valued. There's a lot for employees to learn from one another."
Source: Ricoh-USA News Release (October 21, 2014)

Related Source:

Germany: Court Rules that Older Workers May Be Given More Vacation Time than Younger Workers

Germany's Federal Labor Court has issued a ruling that allows an employer of older workers to give more vacation days annually than the younger ones, finding that this difference in treatment on grounds of age can, from the viewpoint of protection of older employees in accordance with discrimination law, be permitted. In this case, a shoe manufacturer, decided that work in its production operation was physically tiring, to allot two extra vacation days to employees after 58 years of age, to allow for longer recovery times than younger workers.

According to one report, a court spokesman said that this kind of differentiation would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, as different types of work placed different strains on workers.

Sources: Federal Labor Court Press Release No. 57/14 (October 21, 2014); The Local "Older workers can have extra days off, court says" (October 21, 2014)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Research: Effect of Early Retirement and Part-time Employment on Participation Rates of Older Workers in Europe

The results of a study analyzing the variation in labor market withdrawal of older workers across 13 European countries over the period 1995-2008 has been published. In "Early retirement across Europe. Does non-standard employment increase participation of older workers?," Jim Been and Olaf Van Vliet sought "to contribute to existing macro-econometric studies by taking non-standard employment into account, by relating the empirical model more explicitly to optional value model theory on retirement decisions and by using a two-step IV-GMM estimator to deal with endogeneity issues."

Their analysis, published as Netspar Discussion Paper No. 10-2014-044 led Been and Van Vliet to the conclusion that part-time employment is negatively related to labor market withdrawal of older men. This relationship is less strong among women. In addition, they found that part-time employment at older ages does not decrease the average actual hours worked. Furthermore, the results show a positive relationship between unemployment among older workers and early retirement similar to previous studies.
As a wider implication, our results suggest that facilitating part-time work might contribute to higher labor market participation among older workers at the extensive margin. However, facilitating part-time employment could also induce a reduction in working hours among persons who would otherwise have remained working in full-time employment. Our analysis suggests that increases in part-time employment did not have negative effects on the labor supply at the intensive margin across countries. For men, the results even suggest clear positive effects. This indicates that part-time work schemes may actually increase the labor supply at both the extensive and the intensive margin at older ages.
Source: Social Science Research Network Abstract (October 15, 2014)

Saturday, September 06, 2014

United Kingdom: Survey Finds Gen Y Employees with Negative Attitude Toward Older Workers, Flextime

According to research conducted for the United Kingdom law firm Doyle Clayton, Generation Y employees have the most negative attitudes towards older employees and part-time and flexible workers. In addition, "Age Before Beauty? The Challenges Facing Britain's Managers in Overcoming Age and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace" reports that, according to their employees, micro businesses are Britain’s least discriminatory workplaces, and mid-sized businesses are where you are most likely to experience discrimination at work.

Among the key findings from "Age Before Beauty?" are:
  • in micro businesses (1-9 employees), 96% of employees feel that age discrimination has never been an issue;
  • in medium sized (50 – 249) and larger businesses, over 20% of employees had witnessed discrimination on grounds of age, whereas in micro businesses virtually no employee interviewed had witnessed it;
  • 20% of employees at medium sized and large businesses view colleagues who work flexibly as less committed, whereas employees at micro businesses were consistently more positive; and
  • Generation Y have the most discriminatory attitude toward flexible working and older workers, with 27.4% of those aged 25 to 34 seeing fellow employee working part-time as less committed, 31.1% seeing those working from home two or more days a week as less committed, and 18.3% (more than twice any other age group) seeing workers over 60 as less valuable.
Source: Doyle Clayton News (September 2, 2014)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Aging Workforce Issues Come To the Comics Page

I don't know how long this story line will go on, but starting with the July 28, 2014, strip "Judge Parker," older workers are being looked at as a means of building new business with lower labor costs.

In this instance, senior citizens are being targeted for their decreased need for health care and pensions. It will be interesting to see what transpires, but the concept that the seniors that need work might be the ones without health care and pensions seems to be missing.

Source: Washington Post Judge Parker (July 28, 2014)

Monday, July 14, 2014

United Kingdom: Government Appoints Business Champion for Older Workers

Dr. Ros Altmann CBE has been appointed by the United Kingdom government as its new Business Champion for Older Workers. A former director-general of Saga and independent expert on later life issues, Dr. Altmann is tasked with making the case for older workers within the business community and challenging outdated perceptions. Her appointment follows the government’s publication of "Fuller Working Lives – A Framework For Action," which set out the benefits to individuals, business and the economy as a whole of people aged over 50 staying in work.

In making the appointment, Minister of Work and Pensions Steve Webb MP, said that he "wanted a powerful voice; someone respected amongst the business community, with a track record of speaking up for consumer rights without fear or favour. In Dr Ros Altmann that’s exactly what we have." Dr. Altmann said:
I am really proud to be taking on this new role and look forward to championing over 50s in the workplace. This fast-growing section of society has so much experience and talent to offer and could play a vital role in future growth. Everyone can benefit from ensuring their skills do not go to waste. I also look forward to challenging some of the outdated and downright inaccurate perceptions of later life workers who still have so much to offer.
Source: United Kingdom Department of Work and Pensions Press Release (July 14, 2014)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Midwestern United States: Immigration Helping To Overcome Population Loss and Aging Workforce

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has issued a report finding that immigration is a demographic lifeline for metropolitan areas throughout the 12-state Midwest region, helping to overcome population decline and an aging workforce. According to "Growing the Heartland: How Immigrants Offset Population Decline and an Aging Workforce in
Midwest Metropolitan Areas,"
authored by Rob Paral, the number of native-born persons aged 35 to 44—in their prime working and tax-paying years—fell by 1.4 million from 2000 to 2010 in the Midwest, while the percent of Midwesterners who are in their late working years or early retirement years is on the upswing. On the other hand, while the number of native-born persons in Midwestern metro areas grew by only 3.3% between 2000 and 2010, the number of immigrants grew by 27%, so that immigration now accounts for 38.4% of all metro area growth in the Midwest.
“The demographics reveal that the immigrant population is here and important to the region’s growth,” said Juliana Kerr, who directs The Chicago Council’s immigration work. “Policymakers now should focus on developing effective policies to seamlessly integrate immigrants and leverage their economic potential.”
Source: The Chicago Council on Global Affairs Press Release (June 24, 2014)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Research: Pension Workshop Includes Presentations on Interplay of Continued Work and Pension Claims

The Netspar International Pension Workshop hosted by Venice International University in June 2014, heard presentations on a range of topics on the common themes of retirement, pensions and aging. Among other things, presentations included:Source: Netspar News Release (June 23, 2014)