Mature workers can help businesses survive the downturn writes Paul Edwards.

“Good mature workers have unique values in the workplace, including experience and reliability. One leading personnel consultant says it makes great sense to hang on to good mature workers – or to hire them when a suitable vacancy arises…

My view might not be politically correct, but it’s shared by many senior managers. Most mature workers don’t smash the company car, don’t get drunk and insult you at the office party – and they don’t have babies…

Couple that with calmness, experience and enthusiasm, and you generally have a good employee.”

A New Scheme To Help Mature-Age Workers – The Retirees Gofa Register

Established by businessman Wal Lawler, Gofa is a database of retired people trying to get back into the workforce. It is designed to fill the gap companies face when sudden departures or peak workloads occur, or when staff take maternity or sick leave.

“Most of the work is for short-term emergencies that need to be addressed…

Employers want someone immediately, but not just anyone. They want reliable, mature contractors who have strong work ethics, are well-experienced and who come at a fair rate…

It’s pretty hard to bypass a fit and active baby boomer with a lifetime of experience and a good attitude.”

How Does It Work?

Contractors pay $25 a month to have their CVs posted on the Gofa register, listing them by industry, career experience and location. Employers select from the website.

The idea of matching retirees to jobs came from personal experience as a finance and insurance locum in the motor industry, where he was often called in when people went on holidays. Wal has met many retirees in recent years saying they had nothing to do and had no mental stimulation. So with the changes to superannuation it was perfect timing for to create the register and the opportunity for them.

How Big Is The Mature-age Crisis?

International consulting firm Mercer, in its report Workplace 2012: Beyond the Global Financial Crisis, says that within the next four years the number of workers aged 55 and over will increase by 14 per cent – an extra 224,000 people. Yet workers in the 25-54 age group will increase by just 5per cent.

The largest increase will be among female workers aged 55 and over – up 125,000, or 19per cent. Male workers in this bracket will increase by 10per cent, or 99,000 people.

By 2012, the over-54 component of the workforce will have risen from 1.7million to2 million.

Mercer’s chief executive in Australia, Peter Promnitz, says the global financial crisis won’t prevent an ongoing labour and skills shortage and warns that employers have to plan now for an economic recovery.

“If employers are blinded by the global financial crisis, they risk destroying a viable and productive future workforce.

“By 2012, the percentage increase in the number of workers in our labour force aged 55 or older will be more than twice that of those aged 25-54,” says Mr Promnitz.

“We acknowledge that attraction and retention of older workers will not be a priority for many employers right now, but … older employees can offer experience and corporate memory often critical to successfully rebuilding a business …

“Having the right people in the right roles at the right time could be a determining factor in whether a business survives the economic downturn.”

Help is also available through the Federal Government’s Jobwise website that promotes mature-age employment.

Check out Retirees Gofa Register

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