Mature age workers still add value to operations

Posted by Design & Construct on 10-Jul-2015 01:34:26

In Construction

There is no doubt that the future of the Australian construction industry lies with Generation Y and millennials. However, in the interim, the large skill shortage elephant in the room means businesses can't be too picky when selecting candidates.

This fact is backed up by the results of the Golden Age Index published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The index took in statistics from across the OECD to compare what countries are using mature workers to their advantage.

"We are stuck in a cradle to grave model of career progression with a stigma towards changing careers and taking a step back."

Out of the 34 OECD nations, Australia ranked 15th. While this was an improvement of five places from the 2014 rankings, the country is still well behind the leading countries - Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden, Israel and Norway.

PwC Global People Business Leader Jon Williams explained that mature workers actually add value, but current social bias would have businesses believe different.

"Employing more mature workers doesn't block the path for younger workers, it actually makes our nation stronger, as more workers generates more demand and therefore more jobs in the economy," he said in a June statement.

"We are stuck in a cradle to grave model of career progression with a stigma towards changing careers and taking a step back."

Comparison to New Zealand

Our closest OECD neighbour New Zealand ranked second on the list - highlighting Australia's potential. While New Zealand is much smaller economically and geographically, there are a number of benefits from employing mature workers that Australia should be interested in. 

According to PwC, this included an increased GDP and a reduced net debt rate.

Mature workers can make the difference in this skill shortage.Mature workers can make the difference in this skill shortage.

Why should Australian construction businesses hire mature workers?

With the Australian construction industry moving through a period of transition, mature workers add a sense of experience and knowledge to a sector that is slowing.

There is now a sense that each project is crucial to business survival so having skilled workers would can add value from the start has never been more important. 

Mr Williams also noted that mature workers also bring another significant advantage.

"Businesses who make better use of the skills and experience of older workers gain a real competitive advantage at a time when their customer bases are also ageing," he noted.

With the National Centre for Vocational Education Research noting that apprentice and trainee numbers are down 18 per cent in Australia, it might be time to consider mature workers in your next recruitment drive. For information on where Design & Construct can assist, contact our expert team of consultants today.