Keep­ing work­ers on the job


TO MAKE Aus­tralian work­places sup­port­ive and pro­duc­tive en­vi­ron­ments for all em­ploy­ees, it has never been more im­por­tant to en­gage ma­ture-age work­ers and will only be­come more so.

When Aus­tralia’s Age Pen­sion was in­tro­duced in 1909, only 4% of our pop­u­la­tion lived long enough to claim it.

Today, the av­er­age Aus­tralian is ex­pected to live 15-20 years be­yond the tra­di­tional re­tire­ment age of 65. By 2050 nearly a quar­ter of our pop­u­la­tion will be aged 65 and over.

Re­search has found that or­gan­i­sa­tions can boost en­gage­ment among ma­ture-age work­ers by adopt­ing spe­cific man­age­ment prac­tices tar­get­ing their needs.

Baby Boomers have an un­prece­dented op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend their work­ing ca­reers be­yond the tra­di­tional re­tire­ment age.

As the largest and wealth­i­est older gen­er­a­tion ever, their de­ci­sion to re­tire de­pends largely on how much they are en­joy­ing their work.

Re­searchers Carol Ku­lik, Sanjeewa Perera and Christina Cre­gan ex­plain how man­age­ment prac­tices can en­gage ma­ture-age work­ers.

■ Re­design jobs to ac­com­mo­date phys­i­cal needs: Giv­ing a ma­ture-age worker more con­trol over when or how to do their work and elim­i­nat­ing or re­as­sign­ing some phys­i­cal com­po­nents of a job.

■ Cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet psy­cho­log­i­cal needs: Cross-gen­er­a­tional men­tor­ing pro­grams that en­able a ma­ture worker to share their ex­pe­ri­ences or up­grade their tech skills through their in­ter­ac­tion with younger work­ers.

■ Be flex­i­ble in defin­ing re­tire­ment: One way to sup­port older work­ers’ needs is to of­fer job-shar­ing or phased re­tire­ment.

— Carol Ku­lik, The Con­ver­sa­tion


SUP­PORT­IVE EN­VI­RON­MENT: Mak­ing some work­place ad­just­ments can help keep ma­ture-aged em­ploy­ees en­gaged in the work­force for longer.

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