However, our superannuation system is in a transition phase, and some the details of the changes are contained in the table below: Age regulations and qualifications governing superannuation and social security systems 55| Age to which superannuation entitlements are compulsorily preserved. From age 55, preserved superannuation becomes available upon retirement. For people aged 55 to 60 years, Regulations under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS regulations) define retirement as permanent withdrawal from the workforce.
A phased increase in the superannuation preservation age to 60 is to begin in 2015 and will affect people born after 30 June 1960. By 2025, people born after June 1964 will be subject to a preservation age of 60 years. | | People aged 55 years and over can access a range of social security pensions and benefits depending on their circumstances, e. g. Disability Support Pension, Newstart Allowance, Carer Pension and Widow Allowance. From September 1997, superannuation assets of those aged 55 and over were taken into account under the income and assets tests after 9 months on income support (pending legislation). 60| Under SIS Regulations, after age 60, retirement may be taken to have occurred upon cessation of a period of gainful employment even if the person intends to re-enter gainful employment. Current qualifying age for Mature Age Allowance. | 61| Women’s current qualifying age for age pension. The age pension age for women is being slowly increased to 65 over the next 17 years (reaching 65 years in July 2013). | 65| Men’s qualifying age for age pension. | 70|
From 1 July 1997 people were allowed to continue to contribute to a regulated superannuation fund up to age 70, provided they are gainfully employed for at least 10 hours per week over the year. | http://wiki. answers. com/Q/What_is_the_workplace_compulsory_retirement_age_Australia http://www. alrc. gov. au/publications/2-recruitment-and-employment-law/compulsory-retirement Most people retire at 55 years or over. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average age Australians intend to retire is 63 for men and 61 for women.
Compulsory retirement at 65 was made unlawful in South Australia in 1993. It is against the law to dismiss staff because of their age unless there is an occupational reason to be a certain age. Most staff can’t be forced to retire because of age except: * judges and magistrates must retire at 70 * Australian Defence Force personnel must retire at 65. The average retirement age is likely to increase as we have an ageing population. More workers will move into retirement age and fewer will enter the labour market.
As a result, there will be a shortage of workers. Governments and many employers are already trying to encourage workers to stay on longer by offering assistance to older staff and options like phased retirement. You can retain your staff past retirement age by offering phased retirement or flexible working conditions. http://www. eoc. sa. gov. au/eo-business/employers/staffing/dismissing-retrenching-and-retiring-staff/retiring-staff/when-do-staf The likelihood of being retired increased with age.
For those aged 45-49 years, just 5% were retired, compared to 16% of 55-59 year olds, 68% of 65-69 year olds and 87% of those aged 70 years and over. In 2010-11, 63% of men aged 45 years and over were in the labour force, 33% had retired, and 3% were not in the labour force but had not yet retired. In contrast, 50% of women aged 45 years and over were in the labour force, 39% had retired and the remaining 5% were not in the labour force but had not yet retired. The average age at retirement from the labour force for people aged 45 years and over in 2010-11 was 53. years (57. 9 years for men and 49. 6 years for women). Of the 1. 4 million men who had retired from the labour force: 27% had retired aged less than 55 years; 53% had retired aged 55-64 years; and 20% had retired aged 65 years and over. The 1. 8 million women who had retired from the labour force had retired on average at a younger age than men. The ages at which women retirees had retired from the labour force were as follows: 57% had retired aged less than 55 years; 35% had retired aged 55-64 years; and % had retired aged 65 years and over. Of the 2. 2 million retired people who had worked in the last 20 years, 94% had held a full-time job at some stage. For nearly three-quarters (72%) of those who held a full-time job, their last job held prior to retirement was full-time. The remainder worked part-time before retiring. http://www. abs. gov. au/ausstats/abs@. nsf/Latestproducts/6238. 0Main%20Features1July%202010%20to%20June%202011? opendocument;amp;tabname=Summary;amp;prodno=6238. 0;amp;issue=July%202010%20to%20June%202011;amp;num=;amp;view= ttp://jobsearch. about. com/b/2013/03/08/too-old-to-get-hired. htm In advanced and developing economies, ageing populations and low birth rates are emphasising the need for retaining and sustaining competent older workers. This paper examines human resource and governmental policy and practice implications from the contradictory accounts directed towards those workers aged over 44 years, who are usually classi? ed as ‘older workers’. It focuses on a key and paradoxical impediment in the workforce retention of these workers.
Using Australia as a case study, this paper argues that policies and practices to retain and sustain workers aged 45 or more need to de-emphasise the term ‘older workers’ and reconsider how human resource management and government policies, as well as practices by workers themselves, might pursue longer and more productive working lives for employees aged over 45. It seeks to elaborate the paradox of the (under)valuing of older workers’ contributions and provides direction for retaining and supporting the ongoing employability of these workers.
It concludes by proposing that government, industry bodies and sector councils that seek to change employer attitudes will likely require a dual process comprising both engagement with older workers and a balanced appraisal of their worth. Alone, subsidies and/or mandation may well serve to entrench age bias without measures to redress that bias through a systematic appraisal of their current and potential contributions. In addition, to support this transformation of bias and sustain their employability, older workers will likely need to exercise greater agency in their work and learning.
Quite consistently across international and national surveys, a pattern emerges of employers and managers holding older workers in low esteem which appears quite entrenched. Indeed, managers’ assessments of older workers are consistently negative, seemingly irrespective of appraisals of their actual performance (Rosen and Jerdee 1988). The evidence from studies across Europe and North America commonly report that employers are far more likely to fund the training of the young and well educated, rather than older workers (Brunello 2001; Brunello and Medio 2001; Giraud 2002).
Truly, some northern European countries adopt more positive attitudes towards and claim a strong sense of obligation to older workers as exercised through a set of national policies and practices (Bishop 1997; Smith and Billett 2003). Yet, it is noteworthy that elsewhere the ways in which employers distribute and fund developmental opportunities for their employees, is resistant to legislated (Giraud 2002) and mandated measures (Bishop 1997).
Instead, the privileging of youth (and perhaps never more so than when they become a scarce commodity within ageing populations) is that which shapes employers’ decisionmaking about the distribution of sponsored workplace-based opportunities for learning. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1251This suggests that government intervention by pressing or subsidising employers to employ older workers will not be suf? cient, unless the attitude of employers can in some way be transformed. Australian studies of attitudes towards older workers report similar ? ndings to those reported elsewhere.
One study concluded that ‘regardless of the perceived more positive qualities of older workers… , employers appear to prefer to recruit employees in the younger age groups for most employee categories’ with ‘minimal interest in recruiting anyone over 45 years for any job … and no preference for anyone 56 years or older’ (Steinberg, Donald, Najman and Skerman 1996, p. 157). Despite the increasing recognition of the looming labour shortage at that time and following it, such attitudes appear to have been slow to change. Yet, such attitudes are quite potent. Taylor and Walker (1998, p. 44) concluded that ‘workplace perceptions about older workers (and different groups of older workers) may directly in? uence not only their prospects for gaining employment but also their prospects for development and advancement within an organisation’. A 2003 guide by the Business Council of Australia (BCA) identi? ed numerous ‘readily accepted negative stereotypes of mature-age workers’, including their lacking motivation and enthusiasm, being close-minded, more susceptible to injury and illness, having outdated skills, less capable, unwilling to take on new training or challenges, risk averse and having less potential for development (p. 2). Yet, the issues raised by the BCA (2003) pose dif? culties in generalising about employer attitudes and practices. In a telephone survey of some 1000 enterprises in the business services sector, which included computer, legal, accounting and employment services, Bittman, Flick and Rice (2001) found no clear pattern of negative attitudes towards employing older workers. They claimed (p. vii) that ‘despite [employers’] reputation for favouring younger, risk-taking innovators, the study revealed a preference for a diverse workforce of intelligent, reliable, team workers with industry rather than computing experience’.
However, Gringart, Helmes and Speelman (2005) claim the methodology used in that study did not allow respondents to systematically stereotype workers on the basis of age. Moreover, the business service sector may well be one of those better disposed to employing and supporting older workers than many others, as its work may be more age tolerant than others. Across a range of industries, a survey of 8000 Australian employers found the most proactive recruitment for mature age workers was in the ? ance sector (47% of ? rms), compared with only 32% in information technologies and 24% in telecommunications (Deare 2006). This kind of difference indicates that employer attitudes are not uniform in their application or intensity, across industry sectors. For instance, in their 2001 study, Gringart and Helmes found that older female jobseekers were discriminated against more than males. Yet, 4 years later, the researchers (Gringart et al. 2005) found no signi? cant gender difference.
They concluded rather baldly that the sample of 128 ‘hiring decision makers’ in businesses of up to 50 employees was generally unlikely to hire older workers. These studies indicate that employer attitude is central not only to recruiting and retaining older workers, but also in advancing support for maintaining their employability through opportunities to further develop and apply more widely the knowledge they have learnt. Indeed, Howell, Buttigieg and Webber (2006, p. ) concluded that senior management’s support for diversity and effective utilisation of older workers as part of the retail workforce resulted in age-positive practices by those managers who supervise older workers. Nonetheless, in its own way, this kind of endorsement indicates, ? rstly, the importance of attitudes being premised on the basis of informed accounts of performance and not age bias and, secondly, that these attitudes can change. 1252 S. Billett et al. Such change in attitudes would need to be broadly applied across decision-making in businesses. For instance, the BCA (2003, p. 8) claimed that voluntary retirement is often seen as a workforce management tool, but that such policies are often based on age alone, and that consideration is not given to the employees’ skill and experience pro? les. The depth and pervasiveness of the employer discrimination against older workers are illustrated further in the BCA’s (2003, p. 11) ? ndings which suggest that recruitment agencies may actually practise ‘ageism’ when shortlisting applicants for their clients, a claim denied by the agencies (Hovenden 2004). Certainly, some of these agencies promote mature age employment through their websites.
One of them commissioned a report on the implications of the ageing population in the Australian workforce that described ageism as ‘a particularly insidious form of discrimination’ (Jorgensen 2004, p. 13). Recommending that employers needed to confront their own prejudices, Jorgensen also suggested (p. 13) that ‘policy approaches that deal with ageism also need to be carefully framed so as not to stigmatise older workers, isolate younger workers or impose obligations on older workers who simply do not have the health or desire to continue in full time or part time employment’.
It follows from here that in the current social and ? nancial environments, speci? c and targeted policies and sustained initiatives are likely to be required to change attitudes about older workers’ occupational capacities and employability across their working lives. However, these initiatives will need to overcome a range of societal and workplace barriers for the maximum retention of and full utilisation of these workers’ capacities. Key barriers here include a societal preference of privileging youth over age across countries with advanced industrial economies.
This preference manifests itself in workplace practices of not only favouring the employment of younger workers, but also directing far more resources towards their development than older workers, among other groups (Brunello 2001; Brunello and Medio 2001). These preferences seem powerful and enduring. Even evidence suggesting that older workers are as capable as other workers and have the very attributes employers claim to value, seemingly fail to change management’s views, i. e. f those who employ and make decisions about workers’ advancement and access to development opportunities. Some might argue that this preference will change as older workers become an increasingly common element of the workforce and a necessity for employers. Countering such a claim is the prospect that a scarcity of younger people may well lead to greater enterprise competition for and sponsorship of younger and well-educated workers and more intense resourcing of these workers and away from older workers.
Moreover, despite the growing presence of older workers in the Australian workforce over the last 20 years, little appears to have changed in terms of employer preference or workplace responses to their growing participation. Salient here is the comparison of older workers with women workers. Despite their increasing participation in the workforce, women workers across a range of national workforces have struggled to secure worthwhile work conditions, despite legislative arrangements associated with equal opportunity (Cavanagh 2008). Therefore, unless signi? ant changes occur in both the attitudes towards and Australian employers’ practices, older workers may well increasingly struggle to secure worthwhile work, and opportunities for the development and advancement required to retain them in socially and economically vital work and improve their effectiveness in that work. Indeed, there are potentially strong negative consequences here. Consequences of negative employer attitudes and practices There are both personal and societal costs of employer attitudes and practices that discriminate unreasonably against older workers.
These costs include the limits in range of The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1253employment options for these workers and dif? culties becoming employed. Indeed, a consequence of policies designed to promote a deregulated and ? exible labour market is the growing distinction between ‘core sector jobs’ (‘good’ jobs that require high skills, offer decent wages and provide bene? ts such as support for training and development) and ‘peripheral sector jobs’ (‘dead end’ jobs that require few skills, offer poor wages and few bene? s, as well as little in the way of job security) (Kossen and Pedersen 2008, p. 5). Given such a bifurcation, the great risk is that older workers will be seen as only being employable in the peripheral sectors. This may well be particularly true for the range of options that are available for many older workers. Challenging the notion of meritocracy in the labour market, Kossen and Pedersen (2008, p. 6) cite research indicating that older workers who have been excluded from employment ‘experience far greater dif? culty in rejoining the core orkforce’. The point here is that older workers may have greater dif? culty securing worthwhile work when they re-enter the workforce. Indeed, the negative attitudes that older workers experience may well contribute to the widespread ‘culture’ of early retirement in Australia (Encel 2003) in which workforce participation by those over 55 is considerably lower than in many other OECD countries (ABS 2007) as these workers fail to ? nd meaningful employment, and withdraw from the labour market. A recruiting agency (Adage, n. d. 1) concluded that mature age workers are more likely to ‘experience the compounding effect of being out of the workforce resulting in being seen as less employable’. Another agency reported that nearly three-quarters of 2000 baby boomers surveyed believed that it is nearly impossible to get a job after age 45 (Brinsden 2007). The studies cited above, along with a range of other research ? ndings (see OECD 2006a, 2006b; Syed 2006; Kossen and Pedersen 2008) con? rm that age prejudice is alive and well in Australian workplaces, and likely play out most heavily on those who are currently out of employment.
Consequently, a priority for policy is to ? nd ways of supporting unemployed older workers’ re-employment, and in worthwhile work, and ? nding ways of praising their worth that can transform the attitudes of their employers. Yet, others suggest that factors other than age alone play key roles in decision-making, particularly that such decisions are based on a business case, not on ageism. In an Equal Opportunity Commission seminar, Ranzijn (2005, p. 1) argued that ‘in general, age discrimination is not a function of a negative attitude towards older workers, but based on an implicit cost/bene? analysis’. The OECD (2006a, 2006b, p. 10) also noted that a dif? culty for employers with older workers is ‘wages and non-wage labour costs that rise more steeply with age than productivity’ and also that there are ‘shorter expected pay-back periods on investments in the training of older workers as well as their lower average educational attainment’. Perhaps, because of such imperatives, Encel (2003, p. 4) warned that age discrimination is ‘commonly covert and evasive and easily masked’. Similarly, Bittman et al. (2001, p. 6) reported to an Australian House of Representatives inquiry into older workers’ unemployment that the latter were consistently advised that they were ‘over quali? ed for lower positions and under quali? ed for higher positions’. Whatever the reasons advanced by employers for not retaining or employing mature age workers, Ranzijn (2005, p. 8) pointed out that the changing demographics of the workforce will inevitably mean that employers will have to resort to older workers in order to maintain productivity, a point also made by the OECD (2006b) based on a multi-nation survey.
However, such a pragmatic and expedient premise may not be the best one to proceed with. Despite becoming increasingly essential for the production of goods and services, older workers will continue to be seen as ‘last resort workers’: at the bottom of employers’ preferred kind of workers (Quintrell 2000). Employees categorised in this way will often be a low priority for employer-sponsored development opportunities and support in the 1254 S. Billett et al. workplace (Billett and Smith 2003) of the kinds required to retain them and further develop their capacities.
Hence, even if the government supports the re-employment of older workers, it is likely that within the workplaces the opportunities are still likely to be shaped by a cultural preference where youth is championed and privileged, and where age is seen as a natural decline (Giddens 1997). Therefore, older workers cannot be con? dent of being afforded the kinds of employer support required to maintain their workplace competence and successfully negotiate work transitions.
Moreover, given the privileging of youth, it is unlikely that older workers will make demands for employer-funded training, lest they reinforce the sentiment of being a liability. Analogously, Church (2004) refers to disabled workers who have particular needs for support, yet are strategic and cautious in their demands for workplace support, including that from their co-workers, lest they be seen as liabilities in cost-conscious work environments. Nevertheless, the widely held view among employers that older workers are less able and in? xible, and offer limited return on developmental opportunities is questioned by data arising from informants with direct experience of these workers. McIntosh (2001), for instance, notes that enterprises actually employing older workers value their contributions in quite distinct ways: survey responses of nearly 400 American employers and human resource development managers characterised older workers as: (a) being ? exible and open to change, (b) having up-to-date skills, (c) interested in learning new tasks and (d) willing to take on challenging tasks.
Furthermore, 68% of the respondents concluded that training older workers costs less or the same as training their younger counterparts; 57% reported that age does not affect the amount of time required to train an employee (14% disagreed) and 49% believed that older workers grasp new concepts as well as younger workers (18% disagreed). In all, this survey portrays older workers as ideal employees, which confounds the sentiment behind practices that distribute employer-funded support away from these workers.
The exercise of this sentiment may also re? ect the contradictory and confusing discourse that many older workers experience and try to understand in the workplace: they are essential to maintain the production of goods and services, yet discriminated against in terms of the opportunities afforded them. Despite the suggestion in the survey reported by McIntosh (2001), few studies effectively describe the reaction and role of older workers to the changing nature of work processes. Indeed, McNair, Flynn, Owen, Humphreys and Wood? ld (2004) claim their surveys indicate that most workers reported not being given assistance to negotiate new work roles and new work as their work life transforms. Hence, this reinforces not only the lack of support, but also the need for and apparent success of these workers being able to independently develop their capacities. Consequently, policies and practices by government, industry bodies and industry sector interests may have to interweave both support for older workers’ re-employment or continuing employment, with processes that also attempt to transform the views and perspectives of employers.
Yet, sitting in here also is the need to develop and support these workers’ capacities to be agentic learners, i. e. in line with their own interests and intentions (Billett and vanWoerkom 2006). Direct subsidies may well indeed reinforce the perspective that positions older workers as being de? cient and worthy of societally incurred subsidies, and places employers as being only able to employ and promote the interests of these workers when such subsidies are available. It would then seem that policies and practices are needed to both engage employers with older workers and promote their worth to employers in a way which incrementally in? ences their decision-making. It is these kinds of engagement and development that will be required to both overcome and transform well-entrenched preferences. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 1255All of the above points to the importance of identifying what has to be done to effectively retain older workers and develop their employability. Added here is the prospect that the fewer available younger workers will be in high demand and, as such, are unlikely to select low-status occupations such as aged care.
Hence, and as noted, a key consideration for approaches to improving policy and practice for older workers is shifting employer attitudes towards a more positive accounting of the capabilities and potentialities of these workers. Policy reform is needed to respond to engage and inform to secure such a shift. Therefore, it is helpful to identify what has been done to bring about such changes, policy wise. References Adage (n. d), ‘Why Adage Targets Mature Professionals,’ www. adage. com. au Ainsworth, S. (2001), ‘The Discursive Construction of the Older Worker Identity: A Re? ction on Process and Methods,’ Tamara: The Journal of Critical Postmodern Science, 1, 4, 29–46. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2004), ‘Paid Work: Mature Age Workers,’ Australian Social Trends, series, catalogue no. 4102. 0, June 15, Canberra, ABS. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007), ‘Skilling Mature Age Australians for Work,’ Year Book Australia, catalogue no. 1301. 0, February 7, Canberra, ABS. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008), ‘Population Projections – a Tool for Examining Population Ageing,’ Australian Social Trends series, catalogue no. 4102. 0, June 15, Canberra, ABS.
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The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 22, No. 6, March 2011, 1248–1261 Employees. They’re the one thing that businesses everywhere have a need for. And not just employees, but employees who are honest, responsible, dependable, loyal, focused, organized and mature. Is this too much to ask? U. S. employers spends millions of man hours each year placing ads, prescreening and interviewing candidates, and hiring and training workers, only to find that many of the employees they hire work for them for just a ew months only to decide they don’t want to “just be a clerk anymore” or feel “something better’s come along” as they work their way up the corporate ladder. So where can businesses find a dependable, steady workforce that has no plans to move up and out? A workforce dedicated to the job at hand and that takes pride in its work? Who will cost them less to hire, train and maintain? The answer? Older workers. Below are twelve reasons why hiring older workers can help you maintain a reliable, dedicated workforce and provide a significant cost savings for both the short and long term. . Dedicated workers produce higher quality work, which can result in a significant cost savings for you. Stories abound of highly committed older workers finding others’ potentially costly mistakes regarding everything from misspelling of client names to pricing errors and accounting mistakes. 2. Punctuality seems to be a given for older workers. Most of them look forward to going to work each day, so they’re likely to arrive on time and be ready to work. 3. Honesty is common among older workers, whose values as a group include personal integrity and a devotion to the truth. 4.
Detail-oriented, focused and attentive workers add an intangible value that rubs off on all employees and can save your business thousands of dollars. One business owner I know once told me that one of his older workers saved his company more than $50,000 on one large mailing job. The 75-year-old clerical worker recognized that all the ZIP codes were off by one digit. Neither the owner’s mailing house nor his degreed and highly paid marketing manager had noticed it. 5. Good listeners make great employees because they’re easier to train–older employees only have to be told once what to do. 6.
Pride in a job well done has become an increasingly rare commodity among younger employees. Younger workers want to put in their time at work and leave, while older employees are more willingly to stay later to get a job done because of their sense of pride in the final product. 7. Organizational skills among older workers mean employers who hire them are less likely to be a part of this startling statistic: More than a million man hours are lost each year simply due to workplace disorganization. 8. Efficiency and the confidence to share their recommendations and ideas make older workers ideal employees.
Their years of experience in the workplace give them a superior understanding of how jobs can be done more efficiently, which saves companies money. Their confidence, built up through the years, means they won’t hesitate to share their ideas with management. 9. Maturity comes from years of life and work experience and makes for workers who get less “rattled” when problems occur. 10. Setting an example for other employees is an intangible value many business owners appreciate. Older workers make excellent mentors and role models, which makes training other employees less difficult. 11.
Communication skills–knowing when and how to communicate–evolve through years of experience. Older workers understand workplace politics and know how to diplomatically convey their ideas to the boss. 12. Reduced labor costs are a huge benefit when hiring older workers. Most already have insurance plans from prior employers or have an additional source of income and are willing to take a little less to get the job they want. They understand that working for a company can be about much more than just collecting a paycheck. Any business owner who’s hesitant to hire an older worker should consider these twelve benefits.
Older workers’ unique skills and values–and the potential savings to your company in time and money–make hiring them a simple matter of rethinking the costs of high turnover in a more youthful workforce vs. the benefits of experience and mature standards older workers bring to the mix. You simply do not have the time or resources to deal with high employee turnover. The next time you need to make a hiring decision, you should seriously consider older workers: Their contribution to your company could positively impact your bottom line for years to come.
Stephen Bastien isa business consultant and an expert on leadership and managing employees. He’s the author of Yes, One Person Can Make a Difference and Born to Be. Having started several successful businesses, his current venture, Bastien Financial Publications, provides businesses with the latest developments on fast-growing and distressed companies nationwide through his daily newsletters. Visit his site for more information on his financial publications, books or consulting services. Read more: http://www. entrepreneur. com/article/167500#ixzz2QXXcMEQO