'Lose that knowledge and you lose competitive advantage'

by Calida Smylie19 Jun 2014
Young blood to the broking industry may be rare – but those starting out should make sure to pick the brains of more mature brokers.

Research commissioned by the Financial Services Council shows there is a positive shift among the way Australians view mature workers, with employers increasingly viewing older workers as a reliable source of skills and experience.

In sectors of the economy with skills shortages, or lack of young workers such as broking, mainstreaming flexibility and strategies to retain older workers are becoming priorities for workplace management.

Many employers indicated that they are increasingly aware of the value of older workers and are actively looking for ways to ensure they retain their experience and ensure younger staff benefit from their corporate knowledge, the report says.

While one in five older workers has experienced age discrimination, there has been progress – the reported rates of discrimination on the grounds of age decreased from 28% in 2012 to 18% in 2014.

A growing number of older workers are being offered training or up-skilling, suggesting a greater preparedness of employers to invest in older workers, the report says.

The proportion of older workers who report they have been offered training or up-skilling has increased significantly since 2012 (67% compared to 39%). Of those who were offered, almost all took up those offers.

Older workers are also feeling more financially secure – with more than 70% of respondents aged over 65 believing they had enough savings to retire comfortably.

According to recruiting experts Hays, if younger employees are willing to listen, mature workers’ career insights will prove beneficial.
“Businesses must adjust to accommodate a more mature workforce, but employees too can look up to their older colleagues and benefit from their experience,” says Hays CEO Alistair Cox.
Sectors which have proportionately higher numbers of older workers will face a significant skills shortage when they retire, he says.
“But they also benefit from the depth of experience and knowledge this mature workforce brings to their jobs every day.
“Lose that knowledge and you lose a competitive advantage, which is why employers can do more to use older team members to train up younger employees, imparting the wisdom of decades of work to the new generation.”
Small and medium-sized businesses in particular, which may have limited resources to dedicate to formal skills development, should exploit the talents of older staff to give in-house training to their younger peers, Cox says.
“As populations age and more people need to work for longer, this potential training resource should be used by companies of all sizes. Not to do so is a waste,” he says.


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