Workforce Design... Chess, not checkers
Did you know:
- In 1970-1971 that 31% of Australia’s population was 15 years old or younger?
- In 2001 - 2002 that same age bracket dropped to 22% of the population.
- 1970 -1971 the Australian population of those 65 and over = 8%
- In 2001 - 2002 those 65 and older it rose from 8% to 13%, predicted to hit 25% around 2050
Ageism in the workplace is a real concern in a number of manners. Baby boomers:
- Are less likely to go for new roles
- Less likely to change roles
Due to the ‘negative’ perception of age and an inherent fear of associated rejection, people are staying in roles they feel ‘stuck’ in. This leads to a high level of disengagement within a workforce.
Why the concern about changing roles or trying new positions?
Well, let’s be honest - though the thought of changing out of a role you feel stuck in can be exciting and exhilarating to think about, change is not everyone’s favourite thing to do. Add in a layer of fear and it’s no wonder that disengagement and wheel spinning (to the magical age of *65*) is occurring in all areas of industry.
There are a some larger issues here - by 2040 we need to have a plan in place to keep the boomers engaged to have a sustainable workforce in Australia; the boomers have the increasinglyuseful skills of problem solving, collaboration skills, and people skills into the workplace; and take half as many sick days as the Gen Y population. Interestingly, employers will be up for more training costs for Gen Y employees tend to move jobs twice as frequently when compared to theboomers.
This should concern the Gen Y employee - studies we have conducted show that the ‘people skills’ that are already typically undervalued in a workplace will be walking out the door at the same time as work colleagues head of to seek new adventures with other employers. That right there is a structural issue for any employer!
Let’s layer the training costs and associated sense of instability with any one of the current health risks that the western lifestyle affords us - emotional eating, lack of exercise, increased stress, etc, etc. Throw in colleagues that don’t have the people skills to listen and understand to their workmates and you have a pressure cooker for economic hell.
Our own research shows that to keep an older workforce sustainable, people want and need to be engaged in the work they do as well as feel like they have a sense of control of their own journey through their working day.
Australia’s working culture needs education on what Ageism is, why it’s linked to workplace engagement, and if nothing else - start to think about what we want to create for the workplace that we will be stepping into when we hit our 60s. Do you want to feel stuck, or work in a space that is open to all ideas, new and old?
Where you can find us:
2nd Annual National Ageing Workforce Forum, Wednesday 31st August 2016, Novotel Darling Harbour Sydney with Eugene McGarrell, General Manager Health and Community Engagement, Insurance and Care
AGEING WELL WORKSHOP - BRISBANE
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Northshore Harbour Cafe