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Hiring mature workers

Hiring mature workers
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As the worlds population grows and ages, the landscape of human resource management is changing Working populations are diversifying, and the nature...

As the world’s population grows and ages, the landscape of human resource management is changing. Working populations are diversifying, and the nature of work and workers’ expectations are evolving. For the next 15 to 25 years, in most industrialised countries the Baby Boom generation will be reaching traditional retirement age and leaving the workforce.

To respond to this exodus of talent, Henry G (Hank) Jackson, CEO, SHRM says organisations must realize mature workers—“as highly valuable assets—and plan for the day they are no longer employees”. Mature workers are critical human resource that are currently employed, underemployed, unemployed but are seeking work or retired.

Even though India is considered to be youngest populated country the demographic shift may take a serious concern in our country too over a period. Every year, a huge population of our country retires after reaching a certain age. Post retirement, most of them survive on the basis of pensions or investments during their financially self-dependant period or are supported by their offspring. Only a minor percentage of retiree population indulges in other means of employment to cater to their basic needs.

While this is the demographic scene in almost all the countries; in India every organisation during the employment are lamenting over the qualified youth without skills and their demands. Indian Government has thus started the National skill development programme right from the school age to all those unemployed youth to meet the requirements of the nation and population. In this article I would like to correlate the need of the hour for skilled human resource and the solution for making the human resource skilful in their jobs. Mature workers can be rescue operation for the country to train the unskilled human resource and also fulfil the vacancy needs without loss to the organisations.

The question of precisely who fits into the category of “mature workers” is up for debate. Researchers frequently focus on people who have reached typical retirement age no matter which number is chosen, chronological age is not the best way to define the mature worker. In addition to chronological age one has to include physical, mental and emotional health; career stage; job tenure; and life experiences.

People vary in terms of when and how they experience aging and whether they perceive themselves as aging. Mature workers are those who are already working for the organization and could be persuaded to stay. Or they can be recruitedfrom some other organization where they are currently employed but have relevant skills. Mature workers are those who are Retired but interested in “unretiring” and want to work.

The takeaway from the research is that mature workers will be a firm’s largest source of talent in the next two decades. There will not be enough younger workers for all the positions an organization needs to fill, particularly those requiring advanced manufacturing skills or advanced education in science, technology, engineering and math. Health care and the professional and business services sectors are already experiencing talent shortages.

In manufacturing, utilities, transportation, government and agriculture, the current mature workforce holds valuable knowledge based on years of experience— experience no firm can afford to waste. As a higher proportion of jobs require such skills and education, finding the right employees will become even more difficult.

Mature adults are a valuable source of talent for organizations today and will become more valuable in the next few decades. Mature workers have experience and skills honed during decades of employment. Many have pursued further education and expanded their skill sets during their careers and in periods of unemployment or underemployment. Retaining talented mature workers—and recruiting new ones—is simply good business for most organizations.

A 2013 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) survey found that, mature workers frequently perform as well as younger workers. David DeLong, author of Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce, describes three types of knowledge mature workers may possess:

Human knowledge: specific expertise or skills, such as understanding a critical legacy database.

Social knowledge: relationships between people, such as the networks cultivated by senior leaders and other professionals. Cultural knowledge: understanding the way things actually get done in an organization, such as how to quickly find the right person to answer an important question.

Mature worker are viewed as having a number of positive qualities, like loyalty, reliability and dedication. They have higher levels of engagement, strong work ethics. They possess Job-related skills, including good communication skills. They utilise the existing networks of professional and client contacts with broad work and life experiences. If this knowledge leaves the organization, it can lead to diminished capacity for innovation and growth, reduced efficiency, loss of competitive advantage, and vulnerability to external threats.

Hiring or retaining mature workers does not come at the expense of younger workers. The economy grows when more people are working; when the economy grows, there are more jobs available, making it easier for both younger and mature workers to find employment. In general, society benefits when people remain in the workforce longer. Workers continue to pay income taxes, supporting public investments; they continue to contribute to tax-supported pension programs for retirees; and they delay the point at which they begin drawing from tax-supported retirement benefits.

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