New global perspectives on the ageing workforce | RiseSmart Australia

New global perspectives on the ageing workforce

New global perspectives on the ageing workforce

New global perspectives on the ageing workforce

When Sageco – a RiseSmart company’s National Director, Alison Monroe co-founded the original Sageco in 2004, discussions about managing an ageing workforce and mature age workers were more theoretical and data-driven. Most organisations weren’t feeling the pain of the loss of knowledge and capability. Most organisations weren’t short on talent. Sageco seemed a lone voice in the wilderness in the Australia and New Zealand market.

Alison had to look further afield for research and evidence of what risks lay ahead for organisations who weren’t preparing for what’s been coined, amongst other names, ‘the silver tsunami’. She discovered the AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) – a US-based, non-profit, nonpartisan, social welfare organisation with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities.

The AARP produces global research which challenges our traditional paradigms of retirement and ageing. Sageco has often adapted these research findings to the local context to build compelling age management business cases for pro-active organisations. Two of Sageco’s clients (NAB and Westpac) won AARP awards for Best Employers International for Workers Over 50 Award. We’ve contributed to The Journal and shared conference platforms at the APEC Conference for Standards Australia.

A new perspective in Paris

The relationship has gone from strength to strength. This month, Alison travelled as an AARP guest to the OECD Forum ‘Bridging the Divide’ held in Paris to contribute to a number of discussion forums. The OECD Forum brings together partners from member countries to solve challenges facing our economies. This year’s theme emphasised the need for policies that will include those who are ‘left behind’ -by globalisation, by digitisation, and other mega trends including population and workforce ageing.

Sageco now has a strong track record of providing tangible ageing workforce solutions. We have gone beyond the theory and data, providing programs that assist mature age workers in making positive and productive decisions about their future. Sageco’s Navigate program has challenged HR and People Leaders to successfully manage and empower their older workers, holistically supporting people in late-career.  Alison shared many examples from this work in the discussion forums.

With 2000 attendees, there was much wisdom in the room at the OECD Forum. We’ve been devouring the research and insights that Alison has shared with us since her return and we want to share them with you.

The future of work

Jacques van den Broek, CEO of Randstad Holdings gave a great perspective on the future of work – Towards an inclusive and competitive labour market for the evolving world of work. He called for the agility and adaptability of a future labour market – a variety of decent employment contracts, modern social security and accessible employability schemes.

The security of permanent work can be overrated and the value of contract work can be underrated – we need to adapt. We can’t let 21st-century technology drive a 19th-century labour market.

As champions of inclusion and diversity, we were particularly taken with this paragraph of Jacques’ paper:

Equal opportunity is not a given. Background, gender, income and education all feed into the growing divide and inequality. Faced by a diminishing labour force as the “baby-boom” generation will all retire over the next 15 years, it is more important than ever to achieve an inclusive labour market where everybody who wants to work can work. Solving inequality through decent work will provide those currently considered to be part of the untapped potential labour force with an opportunity to contribute to economic growth, while creating that inclusive and sustainable labour market.

The concept of the 100-year life

How does the concept of the 100-year life change the way we design work? We are becoming a ‘five generation workforce’. Workers could have 3 – 4 careers – not just a series of different jobs in their profession. How do employers create roles that suit older workers mentally and physically? Can internships be designed for those aged 50+?

Retirement readiness

Retirement is a strong paradigm in our society. Sageco has long challenged the concept of retirement and explored many alternative words to replace what is, in many cases, an outdated or inaccurate notion. The literal meaning of retire is to withdraw. The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey found the opposite to be true.

People see retirement as an active stage of life in which they aspire to stay socially connected, involved in their communities, and continue to work in some capacity.

How can employers help? According to the research, employees would welcome ‘nudges’ from their employers to create a pattern of habitual saving and to develop health and wellness practices. Only 24% of employees said that they had options to move from full-time employment into part-time as a way to help them move into the ‘retirement’ phase.

The Sageco Envisage – Create your future seminar has been a popular platform used by organisations to encourage or ‘nudge’ over 30 000 employees in late career to consider all aspects of their life – money, career, health, relationships and their identity – as they make plans.

The Aegon research specifically addresses financial security and health. Retirement can be considered the ultimate intersection of financial security and healthy ageing. An enjoyable retirement requires careful financial planning as well as the maintenance of good health.

And yet, out of 16 000 employees from 15 countries:

  • 14% have a written financial plan and 38% don’t have a plan at all.
  • 82% said health in old age was a concern, but only 57% eat healthily and 50% are regularly exercising.

The research bears out that retirement has become an active stage of life about which people associate positive ideas. For example, they aspire to stay socially connected, participate in their communities, and remain economically active. Interestingly, 26% of respondents mention some form of paid work as a retirement aspiration.

How can you actively nudge your mature age employees to create a positive and productive future?

Ageing readiness and competitiveness

The AARP Aging readiness and Competitiveness report is an in-depth study of ageing policy in 12 countries to support the re-thinking of the role of older adults in our communities and economies. The report provides a broader context to ageing for employers seeking to manage an ageing workforce.

Older adults are part of the answer to sustaining long-term economic growth. They are living longer and healthier, possess valuable experience and expertise, and increasingly seek to remain active and productive. Forward-looking governments and companies are acting to enable this by introducing flexibility into retirement, combating negative perceptions of older workers, and providing targeted support for those seeking to re-enter the labour force. At Sageco, we still maintain that the Corporate Champions project funded by the Australian Government between 2013 – 2016, was one of the most successful government initiatives to ignite action and support employers in managing an ageing workforce.

Taking the next step

While we get excited about the richness of all this research, we’re even more excited about what organisations can do to support their employees at all ages and stages of their career and life.  Sageco – a RiseSmart company, has deep expertise in career and mature age transition. Contact us to have a conversation about what we can do together. And if you’re in Sydney on Wednesday 19 July, join our AMCHAM event on ‘Why a multi-generational workforce matters’.

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By | 2017-07-28T13:26:41+00:00 June 22nd, 2017|Ageing workforce planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

Catriona is the Creative Director of RiseSmart Australia and New Zealand.