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Employers Still Not Making Full Use Of Older Talent

April 17 2006 - Fewer than than one in two Australian employers are making the effort to attract and retain 'mature age' employees despite the skills shortage and rapidly ageing workforce, according to a recent Hudson Report survey.

8,345 Australian employers were surveyed by Hudson,a leading international recruitment, managed services and talent management firm. They found that only 40.7% of respondents were proactively seeking to attract and retain employees from this valuable pool of older workers.

Anne Hatton, President & CEO of Hudson Australia and New Zealand said that while the rate of employer proactivity has increased by 8.9 percentage points since a similar survey was conducted in 2004, most organisations are still not tapping into this skilful and highly experienced demographic category.

"Australia's employment landscape is being shaped by the spectre of an ageing workforce and an intensifying skills shortage. These findings are a wake up call to Australian business," she said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported that the median age of Australia's population has increased by 5.8 years over the last two decades and this trend is continuing.

"Australian organisations need to pay serious attention to these Hudson Report results and act now or face the consequences further down the track. Even if some organisations are not yet struggling with the skills shortage, they soon will be as competition for skilled labour continues to increase," Anne Hatton said.

"Employers must also think more creatively when implementing hiring and retention strategies, and consider new ways to proactively attract and retain mature aged workers, who bring valuable knowledge and irreplaceable skills to the business. Organisations need to seriously consider flexible work options as a real solution to the growing pressure to retain mature aged workers," she added.

South Australia employers are the least proactive (37.9%) while employers in the ACT are making the greatest efforts (47.3%). The other states spread between the two: Queensland (46.4%); Victoria (41.4%); New South Wales (39.3%); and Western Australia (39.1%).

"It is not surprising that more employers in the ACT are going out of their way to attract and retain mature aged workers than any other state or territory, given the Government's focus on addressing the implications of Australia's ageing workforce," Anne Hatton said.

Phil Morton, General Manager for Hudson in South Australia said, "Given that South Australia has the oldest population of all the states, the fact that it has the lowest percentage of employers proactively seeking to attract and retain mature aged workers might seem surprising. However, South Australia has very low employment growth, so the demand for workers is currently not as great as in the resource rich states of WA and Queensland. That said, with a number of new projects in the pipeline, South Australian employers will certainly need to start being more proactive in this regard."

The financial services/insurance sector seem to be most proactive(46.9%) compared with IT (32.3%) and Telecommunications (23.8%) at the bottom end.

sectors appeared the least proactive.

Hudson's Director of the IT&T Sector, Martin Retschko said,"Employers in the IT&T sector have tended to be poor at re-skilling mature age workers and therefore some workers have been left behind in terms of the skill sets now in demand.

"But with the continuing skills shortage, IT&T employers cannot afford to do this. Employers should be more proactive in the training and development of their staff. This will assist in reducing turnover, retain corporate knowledge, and will assist in providing mentors/coaches in the workplace."


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