- Introduction: Older Workers and the paradox
An older worker refers to that worker aged over 44 years. Most employers have adopted the image that such a worker is ageing and has reduced workmanship in their jobs or have a low value in the employment sector.
For this reason, and with the complete disregard to their strengths and worth, these workers are deemed as unemployable in the society of today that constitutes of an ageing population and reducing birth rates that would need to retain and sustain the older people.
- Summary of the Article
The authors’ aims are to examine policies and practices directed towards older workers which make them undervalued in the job market. They focus on Australia as a case study where human resource and government policy undervalue older workers’ contributions and fail provide directions for retaining and supporting longer working lives.
The article tries to highlight the need for a change in the views that these workers are unemployable, incompetent and unworthy of consideration for job positions in favor of their ‘young and energetic’ counterparts.
- Analysis of Article-Researches Methodology
Secondary researches used were mainly international surveys carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2008 which analyzed the changing demographics and labor market trends in a number of countries including Australia, Japan, Singapore, Canada, India and Vietnam; particularly observing that over the next 40 years, Australia will have increased the proportion of its population comprising of persons aged above 65, and at the same time have decreased number of young workforce entrants.
The data from the surveys done showed a common trend, i.e. the median age of these populations would fall under the age of older workers. In 2010, none of the surveyed countries had a work force with a median age equivalent to the accepted age for older workers. Also noted, was the differing rate of change in the surveyed countries. For instance, the median age of the Australian population will be equivalent to that of Canada, by 2050. However, it will still be below that of Japan, South Korea and Singapore. In developing countries such as Vietnam and India, the projected increases will be relatively high.
It was also predicted that the ageing population will affect the major industries and jobs across the nation. The mostly affected sectors will be forestry, agriculture and fishing, and health and community services.
- Analysis, Significance of the findings
If the predicted trends were to eventuate, all these countries will continue to have an increasing number of older workers relied upon by the government and other employers to offer services and maintain high levels of productivity.
Older workers are held in low esteem by their employers. Employers are more likely to fund the advancement learning of the younger employees and improve their level of education, rather than the older workers.
Another study summarized that employers prefer to recruit employees in the younger age groups with minimal consideration of anyone over 45 years for any job regardless of the fact that the older person has more positive qualities. Elsewhere, older workers who possess the very best attributes are generally disregarded in the decision making processes and denied development opportunities.
The consequences of these negative employer attitudes include limited range of employment options for these employees and difficulties in acquiring employment. As long as older workers continue to be viewed as the least preferred lot by employers, then the result is diminished returns towards development in various enterprises.
- The strengths of the Article
The article is very clear by trying to point out key issues that need to be addressed so that older workers are not prejudiced any longer. It outlines the necessity for employers to shift key consideration for employment to approaches that improve policy and practice in the workplace that include more positive accounting of the capabilities and competence of all workers.
It describes the variety strategies and initiatives that governments in Australia and elsewhere have embarked on so as to reverse trends towards issues like early retirement and negative practices of employing older workers.
These initiatives include restructuring tax and superannuation arrangements, age discrimination legislation and regulations, and labor market strategies providing support to mature age job seekers.
A review by the Victorian Government (2005) which identified a number of characteristics of the age-related workforce, including that private sector enterprises prefer a younger workforce while the government prefers older and experienced workers, raising the need such attitudes as the pillars to be adopted in workforce sectors.
These policies need quick implementation and should involve engaging with and noting these workers’ values. This article notes that the key issues would take time to be effective and felt but encourages commitment from all sectors including government, industries and private sectors.
- The Limitations of the Article
The article does not give a proven approach that would change the current perceptions in the employment sector. It only dwells in the empirical research from a single bureau to form most of its opinions. Though the details are extensively illustrated in this article; it fails to give the ultimate way forward but mostly outlines the view that employers would eventually change their negative practices.
This article expletively notes the need to change perceptions about older workers, to recognize their capabilities and skills. It observes that ‘there needs to be a closer alignment between the ways in which competent older workers believe that they are, and the beliefs and practices of those who employ them, within a complex environment of public policy, societal sentiment, human resource strategies and employee attitudes’.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2010, September 29). OLDER PEOPLE AND THE LABOUR MARKET. Retrieved from Australian Bureau of Statistics: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features30Sep+2010
Australian Human Rights Commission. (2012, June 05). Working past our 60s: Reforming laws and policies for the older worker. Retrieved from Australian Human Rights Commission: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/age/publications/Working_past_60_2012.html
Billet, S., Dymock, D., Johnson, G., & Martin, G. (2011). Overcoming the Paradox of Employers’ Views About Older Workers. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1248–1261.
EWCO. (2011, December 19). Older workers and employment. Retrieved from European Working Condition Observatory(EWCO): http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/surveyreports/FR1110011D/FR1110011D_5.htm
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