Monday, October 31, 2011

United Kingdom: Survey Finds 6% of Workers Think They Can Never Afford To Retire

A survey conducted by Standard Life finds that over three quarters of a million 45-65 year olds in the United Kingdom say they don't think they will ever retire. While 6% of 45-65s who aren't retired don't think they will ever retire, 21% 1 of 45-65 year olds who have financial plans in place to provide for their long term future no longer feel their plans will support them due to the current economic climate.

On the other side of the equation, 16% of 45-65s who have financial plans in place to provide for their long term future feel confident, and a further 48% of 45-65s feel reasonably confident their financial plans will support their long-term future. Altogether, 72% of 45-65s who aren't retired plan to retire between the ages of 61 and 70 years old.

Source: Standard Life Press Release (October 28, 2011)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Canada: Study Finds that Delayed Retirement Has Become a Trend

A study by Statistics Canada finds that older workers have been increasingly delaying their retirement since the mid-1990s. This is consistent with the increase in the employment rate of older Canadians that began about the same time. Thus, a 50-year-old worker in 2008 could expect to stay in the labour force 3.5 years longer than in the mid-1990.

In an article--"Delayed retirement: A new trend?" by Yves Carrière and Diane Galarneau--published in Perspectives on Labour and Income (Vol. 23, no. 4), the authors conclude that:
Delayed retirement could alleviate some of the economic challenges of population aging. However, hours of work must be considered, since a drop in average weekly hours could partly offset the impact of an increased expected work life on annual hours and economic growth. In fact, the average work week for those 55 and over in 2010 was indeed 1 hour shorter than in 1997.
Source: Statistics Canada The Daily (October 26, 2011)

Netherlands: Government Introduces Bill To Facilitate Work after Age 65

The Dutch Social Affairs Minister, Henk Kamp, has introduced legislation designed to make it easier to work beyond the age of 65. Under the draft bill, employers will be allowed to extend temporary employment contracts for older workers beyond the current limit of two renewals.

Those over 65 will not be entitled to sick pay and employers will not have to take special steps to reintegrate them after sick leave. From 2013, employees will also be able to postpone their state pension for up to five years and receive a pension bonus of 6.5% for each year that they exceed the normal retirement age.

The bill is part of the agreements worked out by the Cabinet in June in the pension agreement made with employers and employees.

Source: Rijksoverheid (October 12, 2011)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Norway: Survey Finds Seniors Want To Keep Working, Employers Unprepared

Over half of respondents in the Norwegian Senior Policy Barometer would like to work after they have been entitled to a pension, but the majority of companies have no strategy for how to maintain and further develop the seniors. Specifically, the survey conducted for the Centre for Senior Policy reports that 66% of workers over 60 want to continue to work after reaching pension eligibility an increase from 54% in 2004.

According to Centre director Kari Østerud, a strategy to keep seniors in the workplace is not only about the senior's desire for more holidays and more flexible working hours. More importantly, it's about to be seen at work, having the opportunity to learn more, and the exciting challenges in the workplace.

The survey also found that the age before employees want to leave the workforce rose from 63.2 to 65 for 2011--the strongest increase in age ever measured. For those over 60, the age is even higher they want to come out of the workforce at 66.8, which is significantly higher than expected retirement age in Norway today.

Source: Centre for Senior Policy Press Release (October 19, 2011)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GAO Issues Repot of Recession on Employment Status of Older Americans

According to a report issued by the General Accountability Office (GAO) looking at unemployment and the recession, once older workers lose their jobs they are less likely to find other employment, household income has fallen 6% for adults aged 55 to 64, but increased by 5% for adults 65 and older, and older adults continued to spend more on medical care than those in younger age groups.

Specifically, in "Income Security: Older Adults and the 2007-2009 Recession," the GAO found that "the median duration of unemployment for older workers rose sharply from 2007 to 2010, more than tripling for workers 65 and older and increasing to 31 weeks from 11 weeks for workers aged 55 to 64. In addition, the proportion of older part-time workers who indicated they would prefer full-time work nearly doubled during this time."

It also found that median household net worth fell during the recession for older adults. Poverty rates increased for adults aged 55 to 64, but declined for those 65 and older, while low incomes were more prevalent in older age groups than in younger ones.

Source: General Accountability Office Report Abstract: GAO-12-76 (October 17, 2011)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Canada: Mining Industry Using Dual-Career Paths To Retain Knowledge Workers

According to a report issued by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MIHR), in partnership with the Canada Mining Innovation Council, Canadian mining companies are adopting dual-career development paths--that is, the creation of alternate advancement paths for technical and managerial employees--as a means to retain knowledge workers. In addition, "Making the Grade: Human Resources Challenges and Opportunities for Knowledge Workers in Canadian Mining" finds, among other things that a continued decline in fertility rates, coupled with an aging population, means that highly skilled immigrants will grow in importance to organizations looking to fill knowledge worker skills gaps.

Furthermore, the study finds that "employer outreach to younger audiences is seen as one key to future attraction of knowledge workers. The number of people connected through social media is increasing at an exponential rate, particularly among younger generations. Organizations are increasingly turning to social-media campaigns for recruitment, awareness and branding opportunities."

According to "Unearthing Possibilities: Human Resources Challenges and Opportunities in the Canadian Mineral Exploration Sector," a second report issued by the MIHR, the mining sector:
is not immune to the broad trend of an aging workforce—with 16 per cent of the workforce over age 55. Furthermore—and of particular importance—the sector has a shortage of workers in the middle parts of their career (aged 35 to 44), suggesting challenges with mid-career attrition.
Thus, among other things, it finds that programs and initiatives to engage and retain the aging workforce are also important for the future success of the exploration sector. .

Source: Mining Industry Human Resources Council News Release (October 14, 2011)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Case Study: Six Major US Employers and Age Diversity

The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College has released a report examining the evolution of age diversity strategies within six major U.S. employers finding, among other things, that while U.S. employers tend to have formal diversity programs at their workplace, age diversity isn't always a clearly defined element, nor is it effectively communicated. In "Age: A 21st Century Diversity Imperative," the report looks at Cornell University, Dell, GlaxoSmithKline, Marriott, MITRE and Wells Fargo, each of which shared a promising practice along with its business case, implementation steps, metrics of success and future outlook.

The report also found that the approach to age diversity is evolving within organizations: from a compliance-only focus, to an older worker and then multigenerational approach, to an integrated age management strategy. Even in organizations that have implemented age-related initiatives focused on younger or older workers, the internal strategic focus is on the four generations in the workplace--veterans (born before 1946), boomers, Gen Y, and the up and coming Gen 2020 (born after 2000--and enhancing intergenerational relationships.

The practices examined included:
  • a program for retirees enabling
    project work, consulting, volunteerism and website resources.
  • a toolkit to better equip managers with the resources needed to successfully lead multigenerational teams.
  • employee resource groups for boomers and young professionals
Source: Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College Publication Archive (September 2011)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Australia: Seniors Group Calls for Scrapping Age Limits on Employer Superannuation Contributions

At the Tax Forum in Canberra, National Seniors is calling on the government to scrap age limits on the superannuation guarantee at this week’s Tax Forum in Canberra. According to National Seniors chairman and economist Professor Judith Sloan, superannuation age limits are inconsistent with espoused labour market trends: "We’re getting mixed messages," she said. "On the issue of super guarantee age limits, it’s time for Government to put their money where their mouth is."

Their submission to the Tax Forum also calls for providing appropriate support for mature workers:
Creating a level playing field for mature age workers and indeed recognising the extensive skills and experience of many older Australians must remain an economic imperative. There are both economic and fiscal imperatives for improving the participation rate and employment of older people. Participation in the workforce is associated with positive life outcomes such as financial independence, a sense of identity and social opportunities, as well as contributing to healthy ageing.

The average duration of unemployment for a person aged 55 and over is much longer than that for younger people. As of July 2011, the average period of unemployment for those aged 55 and over was 63 weeks. This compares with only 33 weeks for those aged 15-54. That represents more than a year of lost productivity for the economy and a prolonged period of financial hardship for the individual, at a time of life when people are usually best placed to increase their retirement savings. This hardship is compounded by changes to indexation arrangements in recent years, which mean that a single person under 60 on Newstart Allowance receives only 65 per cent of the amount an age pensioner receives.

The Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation is expected to put forward a range of proposals to redress barriers to employment in 2012. In the interim, National Seniors’ key priority is to increase the Newstart Allowance for the long-term unemployed to a level approaching the age pension.
Source: National Senioers Media Release (October 3, 2011)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Work-relevant Musculoskeletal Disorders among Older Workers

According to an article by Kathy Lewis, director of Working-Health Physiotherapy and Ergonomics, factors influencing work-relevant musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) in the older workforce are numerous and complex, but an increasing understanding of this is emerging. After considering the positive and negative impacts of employing an older worker and highlighting how an organization can help support the aging population to help sustain a productive and healthy workforce with regards to neuromusculoskeletal health, she suggests a series of best practices for employers:
  1. assess the determinants of work ability of the older worker;
  2. target available resources to identified problem areas, aiming at an individual, group or organizational level and including such things as examination of job demands versus individual capabilities; examination of work-rest scheduling; shift-work guidance; examination of current reporting systems; and
  3. consider policy implications with regards to the neuromusculoskeletal health of the older worker, such as age strategy; and
    the prevention of age discrimination in the workplace.
Source: Personnel Today"Work-relevant MSDs and the older workforce" (October 1, 2011)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

New Hampshire: Report on Aging and Healthcare

A report issued by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies looks at how the state’s shift towards an increasingly older population from now until 2030 will influence critical policy debates, including health care. Among other things, according to "New Hampshire’s Silver Tsunami: Aging and the Health care system," the move towards an older population in New Hampshire will exacerbate existing problems in recruiting and retaining a health care workforce.

By 2030, nearly half a million residents will be over the age of 65, representing almost one-third of the population. While the report addresses a number of issues, it also confronts the aging workforce:
New Hampshire physicians are already significantly older than the nationwide physician population. And as the share of the population that is not working increases, it will raise concerns about who will take care of this aged population.
To this end, the report analyzes the dynamic of a shrinking labor pool following the retirement of the baby boomer generation, in particularly noting the growing discrepancy between the older population and the younger workers needed to care for it.

Source: New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies News Release (September 28, 2011)