Older workers encouraged to join the elderly care sector as two in five adults will be over 55 in 2050

Elderly care highlights its variety of roles and flexibility to accommodate older workers as the sector encourages the mature workforce.

Aged Care Workforce Industry Council chief executive Louise O’Neill told Inside Aging she wanted people from all walks of life and age groups to join senior care, noting that workers older people brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills.

“Many older workers will already have skills that they can use wonderfully in the care of the elderly – interpersonal skills, customer service, care, organization of schedules and activities,” she said.

“Therefore, they can jump in and start making a positive difference from day one. “

The call comes after research by the ARC’s Center of Excellence in Research on Aging Population (CEPAR) found that older workers made up a growing proportion of the workforce.

The research, Leveraging Australia’s Aging Workforce: Lessons from Recent Research, found that structural barriers remained preventing the participation of the mature workforce, such as rigid working arrangements to meet the needs of caregivers, pension systems that discouraged part-time work and discrimination.

Ms O’Neill said the Council supported the research findings and highlighted the A Matter of Care report as a roadmap for overcoming structural challenges.

“If older workers are to thrive and prosper in the elderly care sector, then we must remove the known barriers within elderly care, such as stigma, training and working conditions,” said she declared.

“Employers need to put in place the right strategies to recruit, deploy and retain their staff. “

She said there were plenty of subsidized training places available following Australian government funding in this year’s budget, and encouraged older workers to get their qualifications.

She also said the industry offers flexibility and variety in its roles, allowing people to use the skills they have learned over the course of their lives.

“We see a lot of benefits for older workers working in eldercare,” she said.

“Older workers will have the opportunity to ‘bring their stuff’ to work every day and make a positive difference.

“Their thing can include their vast life experience [such as] traveling, raising children, caring for grandchildren or their own parents, as well as the skills and knowledge they have acquired [like] gardening, engineering, playing an instrument.

“They will also experience the satisfaction of providing high quality care to our older Australians. “

The CEPAR report highlighted ways in which the industry can welcome and recruit aging Australians, a necessary task with two in five adult Australians expected to be over 55 by 2050.

They found that women returning to work and delayed retirements were responsible for a doubling of the share of the labor force aged over 55, from 9% in 1991 to 19% in 2021. .

Senior author and economist Rafal Chomik, senior CEPAR researcher at UNSW Business School, said older Australians are a vital part of the workforce and the economy.

“If they had the right opportunities, older workers could offset the negative economic impacts of an aging population,” he said.

“If they want to thrive and thrive in the workforce, then Australia – relative to other countries – must do better to dismantle remaining barriers related to health, care, training, discrimination. and working conditions, and also to ensure that employers have the right strategies to recruit, deploy and retain them. There is now good research that shows the way forward.

Employers needed to create an inclusive, individual and integrated framework for managing the multigenerational workforce.

“A potential larger labor supply from older people is not enough,” the report says. “It also requires an increase in demand for such a workforce. “

CEPAR Chief Researcher Professor Sharon Parker and Principal Investigator Dr Daniela Andrei, based at Curtin University’s Future of Work Institute, have developed an evidence-based framework for recruiting, deploying and retaining workers.

Professor Sharon Parker said that despite the known benefits, “many organizations remain reluctant to recruit mature workers, and when they do, there are few policies and practices in place to support them.”

The report also found that older workers were also more likely to suffer from the short-term shocks of recessions – like the pandemic – as they take longer to find work after job losses.

“The weak demand for labor means more of them are retiring. Long-term structural changes can also increase the risk of leaving older cohorts behind unless they receive the right support, including lifelong learning, ”the report says.

About Geraldine Higgins

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