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Why Your Ageing Workforce Could Be Your Biggest Asset

Rather than being sidelined by the millennial generation, Australia’s ageing workforce of employees who are nearing retirement age could be a company’s biggest asset.

With one in four Australian workers now aged over 55 and that tipped to increase to a third over the next decade an ageing workforce can’t be ignored.

Career Life Transitions’ Peter James said rather than being a drain on the bottom line older workers can also be one of a company’s most valuable assets if managed right.

“Companies can be very quick to say if you’re over 50 and don’t have the right skill set then it’s time to go,” Mr James said.

“But often it would be much smarter and socially responsible to work with older workers to help them review their careers and consider more viable options,” he said

“This could include retraining people on site or even sending them to vocational training to pick up the skills the business needs, rather than go out and employ someone else,” he said.

“These are options that can save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time you take into account redundancy packages, exit fees, advertising and rehiring costs.”

“Businesses can be too fast to ‘pull the trigger’ on ageing workers based on assumptions that the older worker can’t or won’t learn new skills.”

“Employers should be taking a more inclusive approach to solving the aging workforce issues facing Australia in the next 10 years, by considering the problem now and planning for the inevitable.”

“People don’t want to feel their position is compromised and they’re being pushed out the door as they near retirement age.”

“A better way to manage it is with a comprehensive succession plan in place that starts years before someone is due to retire, so they can be training and mentoring someone else with their skills and expertise.”

“This can be a win, win as the older worker feels valued and respected and the knowledge they’ve gathered from years with the company is passed along rather than walking out the door with them.”

What companies need to consider;

  • A succession plan; organisations need to look at what skills and roles they’ll need in the future as their employees reach retirement age, the earlier this is done the better to provide security for the worker and the company.
  • Develop a mentoring program; this is key in getting older workers to share their skills and knowledge with their younger colleagues and it can also show that the respect for the more experienced employee.
  • Training Programs; The saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks shouldn’t apply, look at older workers skills and look at re-training in areas they are lacking – it will be cheaper than starting again

“The ageing workforce is an issue most businesses will have to deal with over the next ten years and companies need to plan for it.”

“This has a large range of benefits to the individual, organisation and the community, by involving them in the process early provides everyone with information, opportunity and options.”

Peter James has authored a whitepaper on how business can maximize the potential of Australia’s Aging Workforce which can be downloaded at

About Peter James

Peter James practices what he preaches, he’s had several careers over his working life, moving from senior management positions in mechanical engineering into change and leadership development; building his successful business Career Life Transitions that supports individuals as they transition through all facets of life.

Peter is a professional people and talent developer whose expertise is in strategic and ‘hands-on’ transition management, coaching, group facilitation, leadership and organisational development consulting. 

He also uses his training in martial arts to help candidates better understand the art of strategy and tactics – teaching them what it takes to master managing their own career. In Japan the way of the sword and the way of business run parallel, with powerful Samurai families like Honda Toyota and Suzuki becoming the country’s business power brokers.

In 2014 he was inducted into the Australian Martial Arts Hall of Fame and is the Master Instructor or ‘Shihan’ of the WA School of Japanese Swordsmanship.

Topics: Healthcare Research Health aged care services