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Retired workers could help solve Australian talent shortage


Hiring older workers could be extremely beneficial to Australian businesses, according to a new study.

Australia’s retired workforce could be the solution to the country’s talent shortage, claims new research.

The report – published by ManpowerGroup Solutions – reveals that despite this demographic being an area of untapped potential, many candidates believe that being older can actually be a barrier to career development.

Around 4,500 global job seekers were polled in the new survey, which aimed to delve deeper into attitudes about finding employment and career progression.

It revealed that when compared to American and British candidates, Australians were more likely to cite ageism as one of the biggest barriers to furthering their careers. More than two-thirds (37 per cent) mentioned this, compared to 26 per cent of those in the UK and 26 per cent of those in the US.

Sue Howse, general manager at ManpowerGroup Solutions, explained that the latest survey highlights that age is still seen as a roadblock, but employers actually want employees from across the age spectrum, as it provides them with a competitive advantage.

She noted that despite the anecdotal evidence uncovered during the survey suggesting that businesses want an older and more experienced workforce, few Australian businesses are capitalising on these opportunities.

“We know there are a number of ‘un-retirees’ or ‘boomerang workers’ – individuals who come out of retirement or return to work for a previous employer – who could currently fill open positions. In this context, embracing generational diversity to overcome talent shortages makes a lot of sense,” Ms Howse explained.

“Yet doing so often requires organisational change and this seems to hold some employers back from implementing it as a strategy.”

She added that it’s not just about agreeing to hire older workers, as organisations need to be aware of the inter-generational differences and make adjustments. This will lead to positive flow-on effects, such as addressing skills shortages or creating diverse workplaces.

Over the next 15 years, the ageing population is set to increase from 3.5 million to 5.8 million in Australia, meaning it is an economic necessity to recruit older workers. The report suggests that doing this could add $78 billion to the country’s economy.

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