One of the greatest achievements of modern medical technology is human longevity. People around the world are living longer and therefore are willing, and able, to work longer.
The 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report identifies the effects of human longevity on the available workforce (in an era of 100-year lives) as one of the key trends businesses are currently facing.
In a world where developed economies have birth rates below the 2.1 replacement rate, and UN estimates projecting 1 in 3 people in the developed world will be over 60 by 2050, many organisations are going to need to look at sources other than younger talent to meet their talent requirements. As talent markets grow more competitive, Deloitte suggests leveraging the availability of older employees can become a competitive advantage.
Older workers also bring a host of advantages to an organisation including :
The older workforce offers a proven, committed, and diverse set of workers.
Older workers are a valuable resource for mentoring and training.
Retirees are often willing to work part-time or flexi-time, allowing the organisaton to leverage them to support fluctuations in volumes.
Although drawing on an older workforce makes sense in a talent short environment, there are many obstacles that organisations will need to first address including :
Bias in the recruitment and selection process.
Adapting the working environments for the needs of older workers.
The design of new career models which make allowance for employees who could often be more experienced and qualified than many of the C Suite leaders
In South Africa we generally have a positive view of older employees (over 55).
Of the 260 South African respondents in the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, 54% of respondents say age has no effect on the perception of capability and 29% saying age is viewed as an advantage. South Africa desperately needs to explore ways of addressing the wealth inequality across all age groups, and by ensuring our population has the option to work longer and, remain employed into their old age, could go some way to addressing some of our inequality challenges.
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