Friday, February 25, 2011

South Korea: Report Warns of Aging Teaching Workforce

According to an article by Lee Ji-yoon in The Korea Herald, the Korean Educational Development Institute has issued a report, warning that South Korea's teaching workforce was getting older. Specifically, in 2010, the average ages of teachers at kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools were 31.8, 39.7, 41.3 and 41.5, respectively, reflecting increases since 2000 of 2.5 years, 0.8 years, 2.9 years and 1.7 years, respectively.
“Given that the aging teaching workforce is becoming a universal problem found in OECD member states, the Korean government needs to take follow-up measures to fill the potential teacher shortages,” the report said.
Universities have seen the largest change in older workers, with the percentage of teachers over 50 increasing from 29.5% ten years ago to 45.3% in 2010. For other teaching levels, those in their 50's and 60's increased from 19.8% to 21% in elementary schools, from 13.9% to 21% in middle schools, and from 14.4% to 22.9% for high schools.

Source: The Korea Herald "Report warns against aging teaching workforce" (February 25, 2011)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Canada: Study Finds that Economic Pressures Cause Many Older Workers To Retire Early

A study published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) finds that older workers who face sudden layoff rarely match their previous earnings upon reemployment, that their earnings tend to stagnate in subsequent years, and that the situation drives many to retire early. According to "Labour Force Participation of Older Displaced Workers in Canada: Should I Stay or Should I Go?", IRPP Study No. 15, written by Ross Finnie and David Gray, such hastened retirement will further slow labor force growth, which is already beginning to wane due to population aging, thus reducing economic growth and putting additional stress on public and private pension plans.

Finnie and Gray report that, among those aged 45 to 59 (who are not eligible for Canada Pension Plan benefits), about one-quarter have "retired" within five years after being layed off, in the sense that they rely on pensions as their primary source of income. This proportion rises to nearly 70% in the 60 to 64 age group.

The authors lay out four policy options to address the question of whether older displaced workers should retire early (by choice or by force) or continue to work:
  1. Encouraging older displaced workers to retire early, aided by government subsidy, which amounts to very long-term income maintenance until they reach normal retirement age.
  2. Providing passive employment insurance benefits.
  3. Providing active employment insurance benefits.
  4. Providing wage insurance.
IRPP also has available online an interview with the authors.

Source: Institute for Research on Public Policy Press Release (February 24, 2011)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Construction Gap Forecast in British Columbia as 31,000 Older Workers Leave by 2020

A report issued by the Construction Sector Council states that, from 2011 to 2019 period, 31,000 workers will exit British Columbia’s construction industry workforce due to retirements. While two-thirds of of the province's labor requirements will be filled by an expected 22,400 new entrants to the workforce, the retirements will leave a gap of 10,000 workers that will need to be recruited from outside the local construction market to meet labor requirements.

According to "Construction Looking Forward: An assessment of construction labour markets for British Columbia from 2011−2019," in other respects, the construction industry will grow at a manageable pace for the next several years, thanks mainly to mining and utilities-related projects, and a modest housing recovery.

Source: Construction Sector Council Press Release (February 21, 2011)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Study: Older Workers Deal with Stress Better

A researcher at the University of Manchester Business School says that her research is finding that older workers are better at coping with emotional stress and burnout than their younger colleagues. According to Dr. Sheena Johnson, this is particularly the case in customer service industries, where employees often face high levels of conflict and stress, and older workers find their roles less emotionally draining and have less cynical attitudes towards customers than younger employees.

According to Dr. Johnson:
As life expectancy and the average age of the population increases, the age of the working population rises - it’s vital employers understand how they can benefit from employing older workers. For instance encouraging older workers to act as mentors could significantly improve emotional burnout and stress with younger members of a team.

Source: University of Manchester Business School News Release (February 7, 2011)

Other References: An older book with a contribution by Dr. Johnson:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

EBRI Research Finds Participation Rates for Workers Over 55 Increased During Recession

According to research by Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), labor force participation rate continued to increase for workers 55 and older even after the economic downturn of 2008–2009. The article "Labor-Force Participation Rates of the Population Age 55 and Older: What Did the Recession Do to the Trends" by Craig Copeland, published in the February 2011 issue of EBRI Notes, notes that for those ages 55–64, the increase is almost entirely due to an increase in women in the work force, but that for those age 65 and older, labor-force participation increased for both males and females.
Education is a strong factor in an individual’s participation in the labor force at older ages: Individuals with higher levels of education are significantly more likely to be in the labor force than those with the lower levels of education. This disparity increased from 1987–2009 for those without a high school diploma, as their rate declined while those with higher levels of education had a participation rate that stayed the same or increased.
This trend is likely to continue because of workers’ need for access to employment-based health insurance and for more earning years to accumulate assets in 401(k)-type plans, particularly after the stock market and economy downturn in 2008.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute Press Release (February 17, 2011)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

California Hospitals: Aging Workforce Leading to Shortage of Healthcare Workers

The California Hospital Association (CHA) has released a report showing that, over the next five years, California hospitals could face a shortage of allied health care workers because of an aging medical work force and other factors. According to "Critical Roles: California's Allied Health Workforce," which summarizes the findings from the CHA Allied Health workforce Survey, the Survey "included two items asking about the average age of employees and the number expected to be eligible for retirement (using 62 as the age for eligibility) in the next one, three and five years for each of the selected allied health occupations."
The data show that the average age in these occupations ranged from 36.9 years for pharmacy technician in urban hospitals to 50.5 years for CLS in rural hospitals. For almost all occupations there is a difference in the average age based on the geographic location of the facility: the rural workforce is almost uniformly older by comparison. For some occupations, the difference is marked, including pharmacist and pharmacy technician, and to a slightly lesser extent CT technologist and MRI technologist
In addition, CHA finds that more than 2,600 allied health employees in the selected categories are expected to be eligible for retirement
within the next five years; this translates to roughly 12.5% of the total number of FTes reported by survey respondents.

Sources: California Hospital Association News Release (Feburary 10, 2011); California HealthLine "Report: Calif. Hospitals To Face Shortage of Allied Health Workers" (February 10, 2011)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

German Employers Need To Ensure Employment Policies Attract Older Workers

In an article in Deutsche Welle, John Blau reports that, as the days of allowing workers in Germany to retire as early as age 55 are long gone and as many employees begin to suffer from chronic aches and pains in their mid-50s and, increasingly, from mental fatigue, employers must do more to retain them and keep them productive on the job. Thus, according to Michael Stolpe from the Kiel Institute for World Economy:
"Companies in Germany will need once again to invest more in the healthcare of their employees, as they used to do before competition forced some big changes in the labor market," he told Deutsche Welle. "Back then, employees stayed longer with companies - sometimes their entire career - and employers, in turn, took good care of them. It was a win-win situation."
In addition, Blau quotes Christiane Flüter-Hoffmann from the Cologne Institute for Economic Research as saying that companies will need to become "more attractive" to employees and potential hires. Among other things, this "begins with managers who can motivate and ease stress," but she also pointed to the need for human resource development strategies tailored to an older workforce. "In many companies, training ends at age 45."

Source: Deutsche Welle "Aging Germany must keep older workers healthy and happy" (February 1, 2011)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Australia: Report on Age Discrimination in IT Industry

Australia's Information Technology Contracting & Recruiting Association (ITCRA) has issued a discussion paper on the information and communication technology industry's lacks of a strong representative mature age workforce, noting that the reasons are not as clear-cut as some have suggested in the past and basing programs on incorrect assumptions may do more harm than good. According to "Mature Age Workers in ICT: Foundations, Effects and Approaches to Ageism," ITCRA has identified a range of initiatives that ICT recruiters, employers and supporters can put in place to address ageism and other forms of discrimination. In addition, the paper suggests further research that will help to improve the quality of understanding in this field of discrimination.

Highlighting the disparity, while 46% of Australian workers are aged 25-44, 63% of the ICT workforce falls in this age range; 22% of all workers are 45-54, but only 18% of ICT workers are; and 18% of all workers are 55-64, only 7% of ICT workers are.
For recruiters, fair discrimination is part of the job—but it must navigate the legal passage between unlawful discrimination based on stereotyping and professionally finding the best person for the job by effectively assessing skills, talents and abilities.
And the report also suggests that older workers can help too, saying that the statistics suggest that rather than being a case solely of employers and recruiters discriminating against workers, workers may also be self-selecting to not continue working in ICT beyond "prime age" for a range of reasons.

Sources: Information Technology Contracting & Recruiting Association Media Release (February 8, 2011); ITWire "Wrinkles rankle recruiters" (February 8, 2011); Lifehacker "How Badly Do IT Employers Discriminate Against Older Workers?" (May 18, 2011)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Study: Advice to Government Employers about Engaging a Multi-Generational Workforce

The IBM Center for the Business of Government has released a study on generations in the workplace, which details how each of the four generations brings a different set of skills and life experiences to the workplace which can be used positively to increase diversity of knowledge and perspectives. The report--"Engaging a Multi-Generational Workforce: Practical Advice for Government Managers" was authored by Susan Hannam, Dean, College of Health, Environment, and Science, Slippery Rock University, and Bonni Yordi, Director, Surveys and Business Research MRA–The Management Association.

According to Hannam and Yordi, in order to successfully lead in 21st century organizations and engage employees, government executives need to be aware of the major differences between generations. "While there have always been multiple generations in the workplace, what is drastically different today is the rapid influx of technology–savvy employees
and the resultant cultural, social, and attitudinal changes they bring." They offer a number of practical tips for executives managing Traditionalists (those 66 and older), Boomers, Gen X, and Millenialists (also known as Gen Y) employees in the following areas:
  • Communications--each of the four generations now in the workplace have different preferences on how they like to both receive and send communication, as well as how they like to interact with colleagues.
  • Work-Life Balance--Each of the four generations has different work-life balance needs and the flexible work arrangements should be designed to meet the specific needs of the four generations.
  • Growth and Development-- Each of the four generations has different learning styles and preferences as to how they like to obtain information and knowledge.
  • Providing Recognition and Rewards--A multi-generational workplace requires organizations to develop new types of reward and recognition programs, including rewarding contribution.
  • Employee Engagement--A multi-generational workplace requires organizations to increase their mentoring initiatives and offer various types of mentoring programs, including opportunities for younger generations to mentor older generations, for example, in the uses of new social media technologies.

In addition, click on the link for an interview on The Federal News Radio.

Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government Blog Poat (February 1, 2011)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Paper Reports on How 50+ Workers Fared in 2010

According to a study released by the Urban Institute, unemployment rates remained high for the 47.5 million workers age 50 and older in 2010, and more than half of unemployed workers this age were out of work for more than six months and nearly a third were out of work for more than a year. "How Did 50+ Workers Fare in 2010?"--authored by Richard W. Johnson and Janice Park--also showed that workers age 50 to 61 have fared worse than those age 62 and older since the Great Recession began in December 2007.
In 2010, 2.0 million men age 50 and older were unemployed. Unemployment crept up for all men in 2010 but generally increased more for older workers than younger workers.
  • The unemployment rate for men age 50 to 61 increased to 8.3 percent from 7.8 percent in 2009 and 3.2 percent in 2007.
  • The rate for men age 62 and older increased to 7.3 percent from 6.6 percent in 2009 and 3.3 percent in 2007.
  • Unemployment did not increase for men age 25 to 49.
Older men with limited education—especially those younger than 62—were much more likely to be unemployed than college graduates. For example, the rate at age 50 to 61 for college graduates was 5.2 percent, compared with 10.1 percent for high school graduates and 14.2 percent for those who did not complete high school.
Source: Urban Institute Summary (February 1, 2011)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

New Zealand: Universities Confronting Aging Academic Workforce

Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara (Universities NZ) has released a report prepared for it by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) showing that the universities are facing a shortage of academic staff over the next ten years due to an aging academic workforce and other factors. In addition, the report--"Academic Workforce Planning - Towards 2020"--notes that, coupled with lower funding relative to countries like Australia, the aging workforce is a threat to the future quality of university education and research in New Zealand.

Among other things, the report found that 43% of the academic workforce is over 50 and 15% is over 60, that the number of older academic staff is growing and the inflow of younger academics is not keeping pace, and that the academic workforce is aging like other professions but is an older workforce to begin with. Since an aging academic workforce is a global trend and the academic workforce operates within a global labour market that is becoming increasingly competitive, New Zealand universities must work together with the government and private sector on ways universities can recruit sufficient academic staff of international calibre from at home and abroad.

Source: Universities New Zealand Media Release (January 31, 2011)

European Council of Ministers Issues Conclusions on Impact of Aging Workforce and Population on Employment Policies

In the context of increasing employment rates to meet European 2020 targets, the 2012 Year on Active Ageing and the Healthy and Active Ageing Pilot Partnership, the Council of Ministers has issued Council Conclusion on the effects of demographic changes on the workforce and employment policies. The Conclusions note that higher participation of older workers in employment requires a multidimensional and integrated approach. In addition, they highlight several aspects of the aging workforce and offer suggestions for member states to follow up on.

Among other things, it is important to tackle age discrimination regarding employment and occupation, given that ageism is an important exclusion factor for older workers on labor markets. At the same time, investments should be made in life-long learning initiatives, adapted to labor market needs. In this regard, the Council invited member Ssates to fight stereotyping of older people and older workers by developing effective communication schemes and raising awareness about the issue.

The Council also focused on safety issues, nothing the role of job quality to address the physical and mental impact of work, taking into account the need to reconcile work, family and private life, and the anticipation of changes that occur with age. Thus, the aging workforce and rising retirement age highlight the need for adequate occupational health and safety measures for all workers, as well as the importance of promoting healthy lifestyles,

In addition, the Council invited member states and stakeholders are invited to participate actively in the 2012 Year to Promote Active Ageing and solidarity between generations, including ensuring the appropriate preparation for its activities in 2011,

Source: European Public Health Alliance Council Conclusions (January 30, 2011)