Changing Age Profile
In the late 1970's 1.2 million Australians were aged 65 and over. That figure had already risen to 2.3 million by the late 1990's. In 2011 the figure will be 2.9 million, 4.9 million by 2031 and by 2041, 5.47 million Australians will be aged 65+.
Population Ageing is a Global Phenomenon
The world's population is ageing. In 1991, worldwide there were nearly half a billion people over the age of 60 years. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that the global population of people aged 60+ will double to approximately one billion by 2020. By 2050 Korea, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea's population aged 65+ will triple and 30% of Japan and Germany's population will be aged 65+.
Labour Supply Shortages
Currently the Australian workforce increases by 170,000 per annum but economic research projects that the workforce will increase by only 125,000 for the whole decade of the 2020's. This will be the result of the growing pool of 'baby boomers' exiting the workforce, into retirement as they pass 'prime' working age.
Addressing Future Skill Shortages - Migration is not the full solution.
Over recent years Australian industry groups have actively lobbied for increases in skilled migration to overcome shortages in skills and labour supply. Recent BWA econometric 'migration population projection analysis' has demonstrated that migration alone, cannot bolster the supply of labour required to ensure that the Australian economy remains sustainable. However, higher levels of migration plus increased participation of people aged 55-69 in the workforce will bolster labour supply over the coming decades.
Benefits of Older Workers for Business.
Research undertaken by Business, Work and Ageing has also revealed that there is a net human resource management cost benefit of $1,956 per annum for each worker aged 45+ compared to the rest of the workforce. This is made up of the benefits older workers accrue in relation to training and recruitment investments, which exceed costs of turnover and absenteeism.
Older workers are productive and have the capacity for further training and development, particularly in the areas of new technology. In the manual work environment possible physical limitations associated with ageing are subjugated by experience and work design variations. Older workers demonstrate flexibility in their working hours and conditions.
They also have the ability to cope with changes in working arrangements as they hold skills that can be applied in different work roles. Within the context of work culture, those aged 45 and over are often found to have high levels of internal work motivation, job satisfaction and job involvement. Older workers can be counted on in crisis situations, are dependable, provide quality work and co-operate well on the job. Older workers can be the primary resource that reflects an organisation's learning. Maintaining this corporate experience is critical for future success
In a marketing context, as the Australian population ages, so too will consumer segments. 45+ workers reflect and understand the changing needs of an organisation's customer base.
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