Mature-age workers the "white knights" of the economic crisis
"Smart" employers are looking to mature-age workers to fill contract positions during the economic slowdown, to reap the benefits of their experience in challenging times, according to SageCo director, Alison Monroe.
Attracting wisdom workersAccording to Monroe, many employers are currently looking to increase contract and project headcount as opposed to filling or creating full-time roles.
At the same time, older workers are seeking flexible options such as part-time work or job-sharing, autonomy over start and finish times and the opportunity to work from home.
"It's a good fit," she says.
Employers can benefit from the wisdom of experienced workers, and mature workers have the opportunity to tailor their working lives around other commitments and needs.
However, organisations should adopt a "helicopter view" and employ or redress certain strategies across a number of key areas in order to make the "fit" possible and to lure or keep mature staff, she says.
Case studyAccording to a CGU Insurance spokeswoman, mature-age employees of CGU are attracted to and use the opportunity to take career breaks or work flexible hours.
"CGU has a suite of flexible work options that apply to all of our employees that are designed to accommodate people at different stages of their life journey," the spokeswoman says.
Attracting mature talent, she says, has helped build an employee base with the life experience to better relate to customers, and resulted in a drop in absenteeism and turnover.
One CGU business unit, for example, has 700 employees with an average of more than 11 years of service per person, she says.
Dispelling the mythsMature-age workers in white-collar industries are far less likely to fall sick or be injured than workers from Generation Y, Monroe says.
The perception that mature-age workers take longer to recover from injury or illness than younger workers is also a myth, she says.
In addition, older workers are far more likely to stick around and be loyal to an organisation than Gen-Y workers, with their tenure rates, on average, double that of younger colleagues.
However, stereotypes or prejudices against older workers are far less common now than in the past, Monroe says.
"Employers are really valuing their older 'wisdom workers'," she says.
"This could see the pendulum swing from coveted 'prime-age candidates' to their more mature colleagues."