WHILE THE talent shortage has spurred organisations into ensuring they cater to the flexible working needs of the Y Generation, a recruitment firm has warned that companies need to also cater for their baby boomer and mature age workers.
A myth exists that as workers age, they have less interest in professional development, said Alison Monroe, director of mature age recruitment firm SageCo. “In fact, research suggests otherwise. In a survey conducted by SageCo mature age workforce consultancy in September 2005, respondents identified ‘access to training and development’ as being the second most important factor in employer attractiveness. Access to flexible working arrangements topped the list.”
Law firms, however, appear to be leading the pack in including their older workers in training and learning opportunities. Australian Government Solicitor told Lawyers Weekly that workforce planning and succession management processes are managed through its HR team. “These concentrate on ensuring that we have appropriately skilled people coming through the ranks, and also looking to offer more flexible career options to AGS people — throughout their career with us.”
Hunt & Hunt said the firm considers all generations — “X, Y, baby boomers and veterans” — in the training it offers staff. “We are conscious that different generations and individuals learn in different ways, so we make sure that we offer training and learning opportunities that will suit the various profiles.
“All of our partners and staff are valuable members of the Hunt & Hunt community, and while we are conscious of differing experiences and capabilities, we remain conscious of the fact that we are operating in a very competitive market and need to take full advantage of every tool and technology at our disposal.”
Middletons also claimed it considers the ageing workforce when it comes to training programs. “Our firm is made up of a diverse range of people of all ages and experience levels.”
As the Australian workforce ages, organisations need to attract and retain mature workers if they are to ensure a continuing pipeline of skills and knowledge, Monroe said.
More organisations need to examine their investment in training, learning and development for people over 45 and ensure that there is equal access to opportunity she said. “While mature workers may initially take a little more time to learn new skills and technology, they tend to retain it within the company for a longer period of time,” she said.
“Just as progressive organisations are considering how to retain individuals, they are also exploring how to tailor induction programs and professional development for mature workers. For example, e-learning is not as popular amongst mature workers, who prefer more interactivity and the stimulation of knowledge sharing in a group environment. This needs to be taken into consideration in planning,” Monroe said.