Time to focus on older workers

They will be led by Geoff Pearman, MD of Brisbane-based consultancy Partners in Change,who says the issue of workforce development, retention and engagement across the life span remains key challenge for business leaders.

By 2020 one in four of the New Zealand labour force is expected to be older than 55 years of age. Many of these people will have the skills, experience and attitudes necessary to meet rising demand for skilled labour. 

Globally, in 2000 there were 650 million people aged 60 plus. By 2025 this is expected to grow to 1.2 billion and by 2050 to two billion.

According to the New Zealand Department of Labour’s Workforce 2020 programme, older people will play an increasingly important and valuable role in our workforce in the future. 

Despite many myths to the contrary, research shows older workers have fewer workplace accidents, take less short-term sick leave, and demonstrate strong retention of skills and knowledge.

The Department of Labour says organisations wanting to get the best from older workers should adapt their workplaces to these workers’ needs and aspirations.

It suggests businesses provide:

flexible employment arrangements – part-time work, catering for caring responsibilities or avoiding night work;

suitable ergonomics – good lighting, noise control, and minimising or eliminating heavy lifting; and

access to staff development and training.

For more information on the EEO Trust’s workshops on engaging with an aging workforce go to http://www.eeotrust.org.nz/news/events.cfm

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