This paper will conclude by giving recommendations on the issues raised by the ageing population of the workforce in Australia, these will focus on how can employers better handle the influx of older employees and also what the Government can do to help both employees and employers adjust to the ageing workforce and its demands. Non standard employment arrangements will conclude by giving recommendations on courses of actions that employers could do to better address this controversial issue. Ageing population
Ageing population rates are increasing and fertility rates are decreasing in Australia (Productivity Commission 2005, p.15). Mature workers have been at the centre of policies designed to promote higher workplace participation, longer working life and enhanced savings for retirement. (Toten 2003, p.30). Since the mid 1990s in Australia, the elimination of mandatory retirement in all states has paved the way for increasing the opportunities and representation of older workers in the workforce. It is estimated that by 2047, the number of Australians aged 65 and over will nearly double to 25%. This increase will be reflected in our dynamic workforce and will likely result in more people working for longer than they are today. Recently, the Australian Government announced an increase in the eligibility age for the age pension. This change is likely to result in workers postponing retirement – since we are living longer than before we will have to work longer than once originally thought (Aus Government 2009, p. 9). Currently there are many older people who would like to be working but are not in the workforce. The older people are running into all sorts of barriers when trying to obtain work, namely age discrimination. Improving mature age employment opportunities goes hand in hand with how the nation deals with its biggest social issue – our rapidly ageing population (Aus Government 2009, p. 9).
To maximize and increase the potential opportunities for mature age employment within this country the first issue that must be addressed is how we deal with these barriers that older workers encounter when trying to obtain and keep work.
The Australian Government plays a large role in this topic and in the last several years a range of policies designed to encourage workforce participation and remove disincentives has been implemented in Australia. Some of these changes apply to Superannuation, increasing the flexibility of the labour market, and employment service changes (Aus Government 2009, p. 19). Brooke commissioned a study on the implications of these older workers either returning or continuing longer in the workplace. Brookes study focuses on labour mobility, recruitment, absenteeism and work injuries.
However preliminary findings from analyses of Australian case studies confirm that older workers stability and duration of employment can assist in monitoring the quality production through experience. Older workers were seen to enhance the work group applications to tasks Brooke 2003 (cited in Taylor et al, 2001). Absenteeism was another area in which current and apparently conflicting assumptions regarding older workers were held. Older workers are thought of to be more reliable and loyal then younger counterparts, while also more likely to take time off due to age related illnesses and therefore cost more (Brooke 2003, p. 273).
Non-standard employment arrangements
The research indicates that in the past 30 years, developed countries have moved to more flexible employment...