Ageing is not new, but longevity is. Australia's population is ageing, and people are staying in the workforce for longer, particularly when they are healthy enough to continue to participate and be productive.
In Queensland, the largest employed age group is between 45 to 64 years old and the latest figures show 95,000 workers were over 65.
The Australian National University conducted a survey of medium to large businesses in Queensland to better understand the beliefs and practices of employers for older workers. More than 1000 responses were received (mainly from managers) across a broad range of industry types.
Key findings from the Ageing workforce report (PDF, 0.72 MB) included:
- a strong belief that workers are considered too old for full time work by age 65 (however an increasing percentage of workers are expecting to keep working until the age of 70)
- a large proportion of organisations don't have strategies in place to manage the health and safety of their older workers
- organisations are aware of the benefits of hiring and retaining older workers, however few are considering strategies to attract and retain older workers
- organisations which are supporting the health and safety needs of older workers experience high levels of worker job satisfaction, decreased absenteeism and decreased staff turnover as well as increased engagement.
So, what can you do about it at your workplace? Start with these four steps:
- Consultation will help you understand the needs of your workforce as they age - what reasonable adjustments and suitable initiatives can be made to support working longer, staying healthy, keeping productive, and feeling satisfied at work.
- Identify and address risks considering workplace hazards for all workers.
- Design safe and meaningful work considering tasks, the work environment and the person.
- Build a culture that values diversity and is inclusive.
For more information and resources to support the health and wellbeing of your older workers, visit worksafe.qld.gov.au.