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Strategic Human Resource Management
This paper entails an Australian study about the post-employment experiences of the older persons who had left the full-time workforce. The paper looks at the perceptions of those seeking re-employment and also how organizations might hinder their re-entry into the workforce. This is a qualitative approach conducted using exploratory in-depth and semi-structured interviews.
From the study, it was determined that poor plans by the employers to consider older workers as a potential future pool of employees. In Australia, the average age of people in the workforce is increasing as people are living longer. The increased aging profile is a result of the decline of post-war birthrates and immigration of the working age. Aging, on the other hand, results in a decline in the rate of participation in the workforce. Since, when people grow older they tend to participate less in productive labor via retirement or leaving the workforce.
Demographic changes in Australia suggest the need for the management in organizations to ensure that the older workforce is managed effectively by increasing their retention rate (Morris, Welford, & South Australian Council on the Ageing, 1993). According to research conducted to establish the willingness of older people to remain in their work-lives, it was found out that the management needs to explore ways to retain the older workers.
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From a public debate, policy discussion, and research on the issues affecting the aging workforce, it has been recommended that their working live age is increased. Extended work lives have advantages such as increased productivity in the workforce, reduced burden on the younger persons who would have been relied upon to cover for their health, increased income from taxes to improve government budget, and increased financial resources.
When the older people are unable to keep up with the requirement of the job, they are kept out of the workforce and they thus suffer from ageism. This is the trend in Australia where the older workforce is disregarded (Morris, Welford, & South Australian Council on the Ageing, 1993). Financial imperatives may push the older people to work or desire to return to the workforce.
The population of Australia is just like that of other developed nations where aging is a result of increased life expectancy and low fertility levels. In the future, the aging population in Australia will have impacts on the participation in the labor force, housing, and health in Australia. The Australian government is looking for ways on how families can be assisted so that they can balance between their work and families. Also, it must be ensured that employers and employees have mutually agreed upon working arrangements that cater even to the older people who are working.
According to a World Bank report published in 2012, the age dependency ratio in Australia stands at 48%. It includes the dependents that are younger than 15 years old or more than 64 years old. From the research, it was also noted that the older people not only work for financial reasons but also because they had a feeling that work was part of them where they derived esteem and helps them to make a contribution to the society. Active social interaction is another reason that pushes older people to continue working even at an older age.
The research indicates that many older people enjoy working under different working conditions and circumstances. In Australia, it can be argued that the older people's perspective and opportunities to remain in work may have increased because age-based retirement has been removed.
In the Australian survey of the old working population, it was established that the main difficulty encountered by the old people while seeking employment was that they were considered to be too old by the employers. Some people lose their jobs and they find it hard to look for new ones thus they retire early. Others opt to leave the workforce and when they are ready to return, they find that the opportunities are not available. Some employers stereotype the older workers as not being able to learn new things. Employees can also choose to retire early because of social attitudes, preference by the employers, and individual pensions.
Poor health conditions result in a lack of employment opportunities among older people and thus make them less suitable for employment opportunities problems (Australian Frontier, 1971). According to many people who participated in the research, many of them had voluntarily retired, some returned to work while the rest left work involuntarily hence retiring. The issues investigated in the research include the work of the participants, history of retirement, their current desire for payment, and the enticements to get them to work.
From the research, the average retirement age for males is 58,4 years while that of females is 57 years. Male workers tend to work for longer even though childcare or old care responsibilities were not a reason for their unavailability at the workplace. In this study, 45 years was the minimum age for retirement with no maximum age.
Also, this research established that flexible working arrangements were very desirable, age was the main reason why many people leave the workforce. Age was reported to be the barrier to re-entry into the workforce where qualified persons in the workplace wanted to continue working. From the study, it was also determined that job satisfaction among older people was as well important.
Flexible Working Arrangements
The majority of the older working people prefer participating in a work arrangement that is flexible and not full-time. They prefer working for fewer days in a week and also in a type of employment where it is an assignment-type. This nature of work is suitable for the older people as it has less pressure and stress and it leaves them with enough time for personal interests.
When an organization offers a part-time job, it serves as a bonus to both the older worker and the organization. It is beneficial on the employee part as it attracts more staff with specific skills who wish to reduce their working hours. This provides part-time employment on the side of the employee. Age discrimination is what may impinge on the expectation of older people about employment opportunities (Mendelsohn, 1989).
Age and Leaving the Workforce
Age-related reasons are what forces many to leave the workforce since the individuals judge that they are at a suitable age to leave the workforce or the organization forces them to leave.
Re-Entry to Work
Barriers to re-entry include age where most people are turned down as they are considered to be too old. Sometimes the people who are old find it reticent in the expression of their feelings. What makes older people find jobs despite their ages include their strengths, individual motivation, interests, flexibility, and financial problems (Australian Frontier, 1971). Other barriers that face the old people in their re-entry into work include lack of self-confidence, different recruitment practices compare to the past ones, health issues, patterns of life, and lack of knowledge on communication and technology.
In conclusion, flexible working arrangements favor older people in the workforce. Age is the main reason why the old people leave the workforce and also a barrier to re-entry into the workforce (Borowski, Encel, & Ozanne, 2007).