All employees should be provided with opportunities to progress in their careers and to maintain and build on their existing skills and knowledge, irrespective of their age. However, evidence strongly suggests that employers have been more likely to spend funds on developing the capacities of younger employees who are then better equipped for career advancement opportunities.
Given the policy push and financial needs and wants of some older workers to remain in the workforce for longer, many workers may have decades more to contribute. As such, mature age workers seeking career advancement opportunities are often seeking security of employment and intend to remain in the workforce.
Provision of fair career advancement opportunities for mature age workers will likely result in higher rates of job satisfaction and staff retention.
High rates of job satisfaction generally results in higher productivity and lower attrition rates. This in turn will lower organisational costs associated with hiring new staff and increased absences.
Good practice initiatives for career development
Mature age workers may have career development needs such as the opportunity to change jobs within the organisation or to learn new skills through training and development opportunities.
A career plan that can be developed into workable solutions will assist to meet the needs of older employees.
Multiple responses are required in order to address the career development opportunities of mature age workers.
The following good practice initiatives may assist to provide direction:
- Implement career planning programs for all workers and promote on merit, not age
- Develop career development policies for mature age workers
- Conduct career development interviews in order to discuss individual career goals with mature age workers
- Provision of training in new technology for mature age workers
- Utilise the existing skills and experience of mature age workers through mentoring programs
- Ensure that performance appraisal is fair across the workforce
- Access to useful career information will enable mature age workers to understand the range of opportunities available to them and to make informed choices
- Role models and mentors for mature age workers can increase the likelihood of successful adaptability in learning new skills and roles
- Consider sideways career progression, for example to special projects or through providing a wider variety of tasks
- Possibility of providing more interesting and/or challenging work with a different job or new responsibilities
For a full list of resources on career advancement opportunities for mature age workers, click here.