05 July 2016

We all need more old people in our lives – here’s why

Author :

“Older employees aren’t my problem. I like my company to stay young, vibrating with fresh ideas.”

Well think again! Making sure older employees remain in the workforce will affect you in more ways than you think.

Australia’s ageing population is not only a problem for companies, but is a huge issue for the national economy. According to Deloitte Access Economics, an extra 3 % of labour force participation among workers aged 55 and over would result in a $33 billion boost to GDP, and if paid employment of workers aged 55 saw a lift by 5%, it would result in an extra $48 billion in GDP. 

The amount of people aged 65 and is expected to more than double by 2054-55, according to the 2015 Intergenerational Report.

While there is greater pressure for older workers to remain in employment, many older workers struggle to remain employed and are often considered a burden rather than a necessity for companies. Alarmingly, only one in three Australians over the age of 55 are currently participate in the workforce, a research commissioned by the Australian Human Rights Commission shows.

But as baby boomers exit the workforce, they will leave a big gap behind them that needs to be filled. Employers need to put strategies in place now to be prepared for the day when their vital experts are all gone.

While many companies are aware of the implications of their ageing workforce, few know how to tackle the issue. Local governments are one of the industries struggling the most with this. As some towns and communities are being abandoned by their younger generation, the governments are left with a majorly old population.

The City of Unley in South Australia is one of the cities battling with an older population, but who has done great work to overcome many of obstacles. Firstly they have fought one of the biggest issues of all relating to an older workforce and population – age discrimination. The City of Unley has been named Australia’s first ‘age friendly city’, and has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as an age friendly city and community.

Unley has undertaken some extensive work to get to the place where they currently are, and their work has involved a lot of forward planning and development. Their Active Ageing Strategy is focusing on several key areas to make sure the community as a whole is evolving to an age friendly city, making sure all key aspects align and support one another.

The Mayor of the City of Unley, Lachlan Clyne, is understandably proud about their achievements, and celebrates the fact that Unley now is a great place to grow older.

On the 30th of August to the 1st of September, Mr Clyne will together with other government and industry leaders examine Australia’s ageing workforce and speak of their own experiences on how to benefit from older workers. It’s Akolade’s 2nd National Ageing Workforce conference – Gaining strategic advantage through older workers, an initiative to make sure Australian companies and government bodies are given the tools to thrive in an economically difficult climate.

Mimmie grew up in Sweden and first came to Australia as a backpacker after high school. After travelling around the country for two years she returned to Europe and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in London. But the longing for Australia and the sun became too strong. After having worked for some time in the media industry, Mimmie decided to make a change and swap the news for conferences. She now gets to do what she loves the most, meeting new people and keep learning about cultures and issues while producing conferences on current topics.

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