Friday, October 30, 2009

AARP Issues Report on Job Training for Older Workers in Alabamat

According to AARP, over the past five years, 59% of Alabama workers age 40 and over have participated in job-related skills training or education programs offered to them by an employer, and 86% of them indicate they personally have not had to pay for that training. These are some of the results of a survey commissioned by AARP to gain a deeper understanding of the perspective, skills, and needs of older workers in the state to better provide them with focused, targeted information and resources.

The full report "Job Skills Training and Opportunities: Opinions and Perceptions of Alabama Workers Age 40+", authored by Jennifer H. Sauer and Cassandra Burton, also finds that 86% of older workers are satisfied with the work-related training opportunities offered through their employers, with 60% saying they are extremely or very satisfied, and another 26% indicating they are somewhat satisfied. Looking forward, 51% said they were extremely or very likely to engage in any job training through their employer over the next five years, but 31% said they were not likely to do so. In addition, 52% did not think that additional job training would help them advance in their job or help get a better job.

On worker attitudes towards employment as they get older, the survey reports that, among all Alabama workers and those looking for work, 40% plan to continue working at their current job either full or part-time when they reach retirement age. "For the majority of respondents, needing or wanting additional income (84%), enjoying work (84%), building up a personal savings (79%), and maintaining health coverage for themselves or their families (72%) are major/minor factors in deciding to work beyond retirement."

Source: AARP Knowledge Management Survey Report (October 2009)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

United Kingdom: Study Released on Employers and Aging Workforce

According to research conducted by the United Kingdom's Institute for Employment Studies and the Policy Studies Institute, only half of employers have a formal pro-age recruitment policy, and many are nervous of discussing age issues with workers as they approach retirement. However, many businesses are open to making adjustments to the workplace to help retain staff if the issue is raised on an informal basis.

The report "An Ageing Workforce--The Employer’s Perspective", authored by Helen Barnes, Deborah Smeaton, and Rebecca Taylor and funded by Nuffield Foundation, explores the attitudes of employers towards older workers, the range of interventions in place to prevent early exit and facilitate their continued employment. The report found that many employers are happy to let people carry on working after the normal retirement age of 65, and many would also be happy to see compulsory retirement abolished, but that they need support to get the best out of more mature workers.

According to Barnes:
The role of line managers is crucial here. Employers must make a greater effort to communicate with staff and highlight that alternative working arrangements are a possibility, and that staff have a degree of choice in the run-up to retirement age. Employees on their part also need to be better informed of their rights to help encourage them to engage with their employer.
Other findings include:
  • Formal pro-age recruitment policies and age management policies are more common in larger organisations.
  • Some employers did express reservations around older workers, where they did not match their customer demographic or there was a heavy manual element to their work.
  • Health is still largely regarded as a private, individual matter rather than a concern for employers beyond meeting specific health and safety regulations.
  • Some employers simply do not have any experience of staff retiring, often because they have a small business or a new business with a young workforce. Larger employers were familiar with the retirement process and more often had policies in place to manage the process.
  • Older workers in sectors with skills shortages are recognised as a valuable resource, and employers are keen to retain them.
In addition, a summary of the report is available.

Source: Institute for Employment Studies Press Release (October 21, 2009)