Knowledge lost as older workers leave workforce

experienced_builderAccording to the HR Pulse study released last week by the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), less than a quarter of the respondents to a survey on older workers say that their organisation takes routine steps to capture the knowledge of the workers as they transition out of the workforce.

With the large number of baby boomers now leaving the workforce, the potential for permanent loss of intellectual property by Australian businesses is considerable.


Key findings of the survey include:

  • Respondents identified the main benefits of recruiting older workers as the experience they bring to the workplace, the professional knowledge they have acquired, and their reliability.
  • A majority of respondents believe older workers are more loyal, reliable, aware and committed and have better levels of attendance than younger workers.
  • They also believe, however, that younger workers have more energy, career ambition, technology skills, creativity, and are more physically capable than older workers.
  • Retirement, redundancy, illness and injury are identified by respondents as the most common reasons why older workers leave the workplace.
  • Slightly more than half the sample group (53%) say age-related bias seldom or never occurs in their workplace.

When asked what the greatest obstacle to recruiting older workers was, one survey respondent said “Organisations want younger under 35-year-old workers, preferably male. In part this has to do with salary levels but is also connected to unfounded bias and issues in respect to additional protected entitlements and greater workplace knowledge base of older workers who are less likely to accept bad behaviour and bullying.”

Respondents were also asked if the Restart Government funded subsidy of $10,000 to inentivise workplaces to hire older workers would encourage them to do so. Only  a third (32.71%) report that their workplace may be encouraged to employ older workers by the subsidy.

Commenting on the report, AHRI chairman, Peter Wilson AM, said: “It is encouraging to see that only a small proportion (12%) of respondents believe that age-related bias is common in their workplace. However, with around a third (35%) of respondents acknowledging bias sometimes occurs, it appears to be an issue which requires a degree of attention.”

Shockingly, around three quarters (77%) of respondents say line managers in their workplace are offered no training in ways to manage different generations.

The survey of 1931 respondents was conducted online in November and December  2014.

Download the full report AHRI Pulse Survey – Older Workers

LaughingDoes your business need help to leverage the benefits of mature age workers?

Learning Dimensions Network (the parent company of Leadership Dimensions) is proud that 44% of our workforce is over 50 with our team ranges in age from 29 to 72.

But what’s the business case for this funding and what’s the ROI on older workers – do mature-aged workers really add value to a business? Check the article by Bruce Helyard (Senior Facilitator, Leadership Dimensions):

Do mature workers really add value to a business? >>

Leadership Dimensions can help you adapt your business to the mature age workforce.
This requires a commitment to an age-balanced workforce rather than costly modifications. We specialise in the performance, productivity, wellbeing, retention and development of your people. Some of the relevant courses we offer are:

  • Transformational Leadership
  • Leading Others Through Change
  • Coaching and Mentoring.
  • Building High Performance Teams
  • The Emotionally Intelligent Leader
  • Talent Management
  • Manager’s Role in Reducing Stress in the Workplace
  • Leaving a Legacy
  • Innovation and Continuous Improvement

 Click here view our program suite >>

Our programs can facilitate the development of of key strategies within your business that:

  • Creates a workplace that provides equal employment opportunities for all workers, regardless of age
  • Introduces a recruitment strategy that helps you draw the best talent from a wide talent pool
  • Introduces an age-balanced skills development program that involves mentoring, buddying, coaching and addressing special needs
  • Create a work environment that encourages workers to balance their personal lives with work responsibilities
  • Encourages mature age workers to be flexible and forward thinking about their careers in a changing world
  • Sets up a sustainable safe and healthy workplace for all who come in contact with your business
  • Implements redundancy policies that do not discriminate.

Young, old. Just words” George Burns

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