Employing older workers report 2021

In partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission, AHRI’s Employing Older Workers Report 2021 aims to understand organisations’ strategies to recruit and retain older workers, and how COVID-19 has impacted those strategies. Further, the intention of the study was to compare how these approaches have shifted in Australia over time, utilising data from 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2021.

Organisations are missing out on key skills

Of the most interesting findings in the report is that 60% of respondents said that the departure of older workers has caused a loss of key skills in their organisation, and less than ⅓ of businesses actually consult with older workers on issues of specific concern to their workplace.

The three greatest advantages of recruiting older workers in 2021 were identified as being: Experience (76.9%), Professional knowledge (64.4%) and Age diversity (34%), yet nearly a quarter of Australian businesses don’t actively implement any recruitment practices to encourage age diversity.

Including older workers

This is despite Australia’s aging population, which is reflected in the increase of workplaces reporting that between 51 and 75% of their workforce are over 55 years of age. This is coupled with the response that the perceived age of an “older worker” is becoming younger over time (51-55 years of age, and 16.9% of respondents), even though the workforce is generally aging.

This report outlines where HR professionals can make an impact by retaining the knowledge that older workers bring to the work environment, and offers insights into how this can fit into talent management planning.

In-discussion: Employing Older Workers

AHRI CEO Sarah McCann-Bartlett was joined by Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson AO to discuss the findings of the 2020 Employing Older Workers Report.

Next steps

Resources for AHRI Members

Policy and Procedure resources

Recruitment and selection resources

Other reports you may be interested in