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Australia climbs mature-age worker rankings

Australian businesses could take advantage of a large talent pool of experienced workers if they ramped up recruitment of mature-age employees.

New global research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has measured how effectively companies are harnessing the economic power that older employees provide.

According to the data, Australia has seen its index score increase from 46.9 12 years ago to 63.2 in 2013. The rankings take into account a range of indicators, including training, employment and earnings.

The recent Federal Budget outlined policies that could boost employment among mature-age demographics, which could see the country’s index performance rise even higher in the coming years. There are also mature-age apprenticeships and traineeships across Queensland and other states that offer subsidies for businesses that take on workers aged over 45.

Jon Andrews, Head of PwC’s Global People and Organisation Practice, said governments and companies can overlook older workers, which could be a mistake for a number of reasons.

“Our research shows there could be big economic gains from policies directed at keeping people skilled and motivated to stay in the workforce for longer,” he explained.

“Measures such as tax rebates for companies taking on older workers, increased spending on retraining older workers including digital skills and apprenticeships, and enforcing age discrimination laws more strictly could all be considered as a way to boost participation.”

Mature-age boost for business

Australia’s improved index score over the last 10 years saw the company jump five places on the PwC rankings. The country clinched 15th place in 2013, up from 20th.

During this time, it’s overtaken other developed nations such as the UK, which has fallen from 16th to 19th, and Finland in 17th. Australia’s mature age hiring practices also edge out Germany, the Netherlands and France in 18th, 20th and 24th respectively.

Figures from the Queensland government estimate that approximately 24.5 per cent of the Australian population will be aged over 65 by 2045, up from 13 per cent in 2004-05.

Mr Andrews said there are many ways to optimise recruitment of mature-age workers. This included flexible working, more career breaks and job redesigns.

“Training, promotions and performance management should not tail away at 50,” he stated. “More should be done to focus on how we can drive innovation and productivity by harnessing the diversity that results from having a broader range of generations working together.”

By Leanne Macnamara, Public Affairs Coordinator

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