Changing Attitudes & Mindsets
From the time we join the workforce everything is geared to us working till the age of 60-65 years and then retiring. This is further emphasized through the supply of products and services to cater to this end of work life and start of retirement life. Without realizing it society as a whole has stereotyped what we must do as we age.
If you ask many 65 year olds they will tell you that they “love” what they do, they are skilled at what they do and while they may desire a slightly lesser load through flexible working hours they do not wish to retire in the form of an all or nothing manner.
Several businesses and employers are seeing both the value and the challenges of employing an older workforce. Attitudes are slowly changing, partly out of necessity as older people need to or choose to work longer and partly because employers need experienced employees that they cannot buy on the open market. If we are to capture the economic value of this aging workforce and, if we are going to manage the impact of the swell of older people that will negatively impact pensions, healthcare and other resources then more needs to be done.
We at Thrive believe that we need to change mindsets through a media rebrand of aging. Instead of images of older people predominantly depicting stooped over bodies with a walking stick we need to share more active and engaged images of older people. We need to incentivize businesses and employers to recognize age discrimination and unconscious biases towards older people. We need to provide short course training to ensure that peoples skills are kept up to date and we need to redesign and re-communicate to the workforce, the older employee, the external community and our customers the value of the experienced, mature employees. Perhaps governments should also begin to bring in legislation to address this agenda? Contrary to the notion that the older workforce is blocking out the younger work force research provides evidence that keeping older people in work improves the employment prospects for younger generations and in some cases enhances their wages. The business case for keeping people employed longer also shows that this is one way to address the problem of skill shortages in certain sectors. Lastly a fuller life with flexible later stage employment provides social and psychological benefits for individuals and reduces the social burden on government and society as a whole. Tell us what you think?