Ageing Workforce

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Demographic trends indicate that older workers cannot be overlooked as a key source of labour supply in globally shrinking labour markets. As stated in current research numerous comparative studies have been undertaken to evaluate the intergenerational differences in work ethic and productivity between baby boomers and younger workers (Buyens, Van Dijk, Dewilde & De Vos, 2009; Koc Menard, 2009 & Loretto, 2006). Australian national data show that older workers (aged 45 and over) are consistently disadvantaged in the labour market in the recruitment/retention cycle compared to younger workers (Buyens et al 2009). The extent to which an older worker can be retrained is a controversial topic. Australian employers’ perceptions of the capacity of older workers to be trained, particularly in new technologies, as well as older workers’ own expectations and ability to self-select for new training, are commonly influenced by ageist stereotypes (Loretto, 2006). However, Training investments in older workers may accrue over time as younger workers’ comparative mobility reduces employers’ ability to capitalise on training investments (Koc Menard, 2009). Also, older workers exposure to accumulated training over time can also add value to an organisation's knowledge base. Furthermore, the concept of an age-balanced workforce implies that the complementary strengths of younger and older generations are recognised and utilised within human resource planning (Brooke, 2003). The increased human resource costs of the younger workforce may potentially be countered by their currency of technical skills, which, may in turn be balanced by the experience and stability that older workers bring to their employment (Koc Menard, 2009 & Loretto, 2006). Many larger organisations are moving towards ‘benefit partnerships’ between older and younger employees. In these partnerships, older professionals assist their younger colleagues to acquire critical abilities (Abrams, Eller & Bryant, 2006)....
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