The average working age is increasing across the globe and as a result, employers should embrace the benefits of a more mature workforce, says recruiting experts Hays.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people aged 60 and over is estimated to double to more than 2 billion by 2050. As the average age of populations across the globe increases, older workers will soon represent a greater proportion of the workforce and businesses must make sure they are utilising the skills of more mature workers.
“At the same time as the pool of available workers ages, businesses are continuing to struggle to secure the people they require in skill short areas,” notes Grant Torrens, regional director for Hays Singapore. “Businesses that retain the key talent and skills already within their organisation will therefore have a skills advantage over those who do not value the benefits of a workforce of diverse ages.
“In order to attract and retain these mature workers, businesses need a clear strategy in place for supporting and managing their ageing workforce.”
According to Hays, businesses need to devote greater time and investment into training and reskilling, while also modernising working practices to account for flexible working to support older workers more effectively. Hays offers the following advice to businesses on how they can encourage continued participation from older workers.
There is a misconception that younger workforces are more likely to cultivate innovation, however a Boston Consulting Group study of 1,700 companies in eight countries found that businesses with above-average total diversity on average scored 19 percentage points higher in innovation revenues.
“Many companies are focused on attracting younger talent but should equally think about more mature workers. In order to do so they need to remove any age bias that might exist – whether conscious or unconscious. While younger workers may have a greater understanding of new technologies, more mature workers can offer other skills which are just as important such as mentorship, judgement and experience,” said Grant.
Hays CEO, Alistair Cox, recently stated in his LinkedIn Influencer blog the value mature workers can bring to the workplace, “Older workers bring a huge amount of knowledge and wisdom to a business, at a level which simply cannot be taught but is gained only via experience.”
Mature workers make good mentors to younger members of the workforce. Today’s workforce will soon be made up of five different generations. This provides a unique opportunity for businesses to facilitate the efficient transfer of knowledge from older, more experienced workers to their junior colleagues.
“The knowledge and experience older workers can share with a workplace is invaluable,” says Grant. “Businesses can also consider two-way mentorship, whereby younger staff are provided with tutelage from senior colleagues in return for support in understanding and using new technologies, for example. This ensures that not only are more mature workers imparting their knowledge, but no one is left behind as the workplace becomes increasingly digitalised and complex.”