Given the growing demographic of older workers, it is vital for organisations to utilise techniques encouraging existing mature age employees to remain in the workforce.

In addition, human resource experts estimate that the cost of replacing an employee is between 75 and 150 per cent of salary when recruitment, training, specialist knowledge and productivity are included in the calculation.

It is therefore important to recognise the reasons why mature age workers exit the labour market and to increase efforts to address these when and where possible.


Common reasons why mature age workers leave the workforce

Mature age workers can prematurely leave the workforce for a number of different reasons. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Ill-health
  • Experiencing age discrimination
  • Feeling undervalued and/or underutilised
  • Having out-dated skills
  • Inability to balance work and caring responsibilities
  • Work becoming too physically and/or mentally demanding
  • Lifestyle reasons

Strategies to retain mature age workers

Most of the above reasons can be actively addressed by employers through initiatives such as:

  • Abolishing age discrimination in the workplace
  • Restructuring work practices
  • Job redesign
  • Providing training and mentoring opportunities
  • Offering job redesign/rotation/redeployment options
  • Establishing flexible work options (including gradual retirement options)
  • Offering alternate forms of tenure such as contract work
  • Offering full-time hours to those that want them
  • Offering health and well-being programs
  • Offering various leave packages such as carer's leave, grandparent's leave, travel leave, career breaks, and extra annual leave

Implementing a combination of the above strategies can prove mutually beneficial for employers and employees. For example, retiring individuals could be enticed to stay by opting for alternate forms of tenure, such as consultancy or by implementing adjusted work schedules and/or tasks.

In these modified roles, workers could contribute their skills and experience on specific projects while allowing time for succession planning and the transfer of knowledge.

For a full copy of resources encouraging the retention of mature age workers, click here.

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