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Mature Workers Are The Solution To The ‘Workforce Age Gap Crisis’

Australia has reached a population of over 22.3 million people with 11 million people currently employed. Over 260,000 people will celebrate their 60 birthday this year.

39 % of the workforce is now over the age of 45 years old with developed skill sets fought over by their employers. Yet, workers younger than 25 years old only account for 17% of the workforce. So who is going to fill the gap as older workers seek retirement or scale back their work commitments or exit the workforce all together?

The figures are not new and speak for themselves in alerting HR leaders about the ‘Working Age Gap Crisis’ that has changed workforce planning methodologies forever.

Most organisations understand that their workforce determines their ultimate profitability and long term sustainability and that staff are their key asset. Thus organisations are spending even larger amounts on retention strategies to keep relevant skill sets within their organisations.

It seems inevitable that HR leaders will realise that unless they are communicating to adult workers over the next ten years to help soothe the ‘Working Age Gap Crisis’, they may become reliant on Government immigration policy to attain the appropriate skill sets.

Employer Branding Specialist, Nicholas Ricciuti who is the CEO of Reinvent Your Career, says; “I am constantly surprised by the number of workers who attend our events or engage in communication with us online who have the skills in ‘Skills Shortage’ areas looking for a change. They wonder where the companies with these skills shortages are.

Some industries and companies on the other hand, are resigned to the fact that these skills are mostly not available in Australia. They believe that people are not willing to relocate even if they do possess the right skills. Thus they venture overseas for foreign human capital.”

Chris Fraser an Executive Director at the Minerals Council of Australia, claims “The skilled labour shortages in Australia are more to do with the mobility of labour than the availability of labour;” adding “Australia lacks mining industry professionals. Australia has enough trades people and plant operators but we have difficulty getting them out of the cities and willing to work at remote mine sites.”

Mr Ricciuti says, “This highlights the miscommunication between industries seeking skills and those workers who posses them. It’s not surprising that over 70% of jobs are never advertised. We have surveyed over 2500 working Australians over the past 6 months of which 51% claim that they would be willing to relocate if they found the right job. This miscommunication needs addressing if we want to utilise the potential of Australian talent available in this country.

It seems the war for talent has expanded overseas. However, it is vital that industries and employers need to continue to communicate their attraction and integration messages across Australia using traditional advertising mediums and face to face. This is essential in order to inform our Australian talent pool that work opportunities exist.

Furthermore, the communication from industries or organisations about skills needs into the future is imperative, so that ‘Real Age’ Australian workers can prepare for the task of filling our inevitable
‘Workforce Age Gap Crisis’.”

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