Savvy SMEs are hiring mature age workers – why aren’t you?

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Invest in human capital for your SME – take on a mature-aged worker and reap the benefits. We reckon you might even be surprised.

Knowledge and experience

Hire a worker aged 50 + and you’ll tap into their years of experience and knowledge, plus their contacts. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science says mature workers can bring a depth of understanding into how your business operates and customers think and act.

“They can help you look at your business operations from a different perspective, improve your business processes, fill skill or knowledge gaps in your workplace, offer mentoring to less-experienced employees as well as train up your employees by sharing skills,” says the Department of Industry and Innovation’s website.

Maturity is what Vicki, 64, sees as a drawcard for her role working in Telstra’s services and complaints’ department. Her younger co-workers ask her for advice in work situations and they’re mentoring her about tech gadgets.

The Australian Government even has a toolkit for employers considering investing in those with experience.

Well-practised at fitting into workplaces

Chances are mature workers have had a range of jobs in more than one career. They’ve honed their skills in adapting to new workplaces to fit in and deliver. Often they hit the ground running in a new role. They’ve tackled new systems and processes throughout their work life and can bring insights to businesses grappling with change and transformation. Wouldn’t you like such a worker on side as your business learns and adjusts to new technologies?

So much more than just showing up

Mature age workers don’t just show up for work, they’re often very committed and loyal to their employers. On average, such workers deliver a net benefit of almost $2000 a year to their employer compared to other workers, according to a report cited, The economic benefits of maintaining an age-balanced workforce. That’s due to higher retention rates, lower absenteeism, slimmer recruitment costs and a better return on investment. (It’s a myth that older works are more likely to have health problems, according to a workplace age discrimination study, by the Australian Human Rights Commission). Another study, by Australian Health Management, and cited by Safe Work South Australia, found workers aged 55 and above worked at their best for about seven hours out of an eight-hour-work day.

If you want to make your business more productive, put the spotlight on workers aged 50-plus, like this SME did.

Mature age workers key to this business

Hiring a mature worker through jobactive  made good business sense for Michael Hole, part-shareholder of fruit and vegie wholesaler S J Fresh. It hired four mature-aged staff including previously long-term unemployed Paul Lintott as a warehouse assistant.

“The Restart program has supported us very well. The attitude Paul’s shown us from day one has been exceptional.

“The program is a fantastic conduit between business and long-term unemployed,” he says.

A wage subsidy (of up to $10,000) helped Michael offset some of the time he needed to train those new workers.

Celebrate a diversity of ages among your staff

The Australian Government thinks mature age workers are such a good idea, it’s promoting them to businesses and employers.

Keep up to date on how to give your business the edge with jobactive’s blog, from creatively shaking up your hiring strategy, mental health, improving staff performance and much more.

Produced in partnership with jobactive, the Australian Government’s employment service

Margaret Paton, Journalist/Copywriter, Communications: Keeping It Real

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