Sep 02, 2015
Dinosaur mentality or Mega-Soar?
I read an article recently which showed how advantageous it is to the economy to keep employing older people, especially the over 55’s. As someone fast approaching this category, I’ve tried to step back and weigh up the situation for both me, and the organisation, should I choose to work another 10 to 15 years.
On the one hand, the organisation will Mega-Soar in at least 3 critical areas:
- The experience the over 55’s bring to the job, (human capital)
- The wisdom to give guidance and mentorship to the up-and-coming leaders;
- A strategic influence, which could tap into the needs of an aging population.
Regarding this latter point, I’m reminded of the 50Up Club, which was recently founded and which recognises the needs of the over 50s by giving them a consumer voice. In the organisation’s own words, they believe that the over 50’s “are often lower risk, higher value, and stick with providers they like and respect. FiftyUps are a huge section of the market, (1 in 3 Australians are 50 or over) with a serious amount of buying power, (about 50% of household buying power) but despite all these strengths, they often feel ignored by corporate Australia”.
(Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics; Mi9 Reports; The Australian Human Rights Commission.)
On the other hand, what gains are there for the Over 55’s?
- Personally, the economic benefit of working longer, will mean greater financial independence when I finally retire.
- I stay intellectually active and part of the business world, which keeps me stimulated, relevant and connected. This is especially true if training and development are offered, regardless of age.
- The opportunity to work in a different way, which is more flexible, yet still beneficial to the organisation and me. Flexi-time, part-time, consulting, or advising are just some of the options.
As a way forward out of the current dinosaur mentality, and to cement and encourage this initiative, there are some things that government could do:
- They could give organisation’s a financial incentive to retain older staff;
- They could reduce the tax on the older employees to encourage them to continue working
Let’s see what happens. Incidentally, Australia ranks 15th in the OECD countries, according to the PwC Golden Age Index. This index ranks nations by their employment of mature age workers. Top is Iceland, followed by New Zealand.
(Chloe Taylor, in HC Online 30 June 2020)