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Are you considering mature workers as potential contractors?

Published 2nd December 2015

Australia’s ageing population is resulting in more older workers seeking employment in the IT industry. Organisations that take advantage of this trend and engage older workers could gain a competitive edge over other businesses.

Furthermore, focusing on candidates and ensuring you understand the skills and experience they offer takes time. For recruiters, investing in solutions that foster operational efficiency can help manage administrative tasks so that candidates can remain the focus. 

Age discrimination in the recruitment process

As many are aware, Australia’s ageing population is resulting in the nation moving increasingly towards an older workforce. For the IT industry, this can give organisations a competitive edge due to the variety of skills and experience that mature employees tend to hold.

However, research indicates that businesses are failing to see the potential in older workers, with a high portion experiencing discrimination when applying for roles.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released a report in April this year in order to highlight this growing problem. It revealed that over a quarter (27 per cent) of Australians aged 50 years and over had experienced age discrimination within the last two years.

“I am particularly concerned that a third of people who had experienced age discrimination gave up looking for work as a result. Almost half began to think about retirement or accessing their superannuation fund,” says Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan.

The report, National prevalence survey of age discrimination in the workplace, was launched earlier this year at Insurance Australia Group (IAG). It indicated that many workers experienced discrimination during the recruitment process, with almost half (44 per cent) reporting negative perceptions of skills and ability.

Furthermore, many of those experiencing discrimination do not take action. Out of those that chose not to, 25 per cent felt that no one would believe their side, they had little evidence or not much could be done about the situation.

What are the benefits of hiring older workers?

The Australian government notes the importance of understanding the investment of a mature employee to a company. It highlights certain characteristics that can foster business development and improve your organisation overall. This includes:

  • Fill any knowledge or skill gaps
  • Act as a mentor to less experienced staff
  • Share their skills through training 
  • Look at business processes from a different viewpoint

For the IT industry, mature workers can offer experience and skills that other employees may not be able to offer. As such, ensuring you are considering them as serious candidates for jobs is advantageous to the employer as well.

“It is in everyone’s interest to have a workforce that is adaptive of our ageing population,” notes IAG Chairman Brian Schwartz.

Furthermore, mature workers are set to make up a considerable portion of the workforce. A 2014 report by AMP and NATSEM, We can work it out: Australia’s changing workforce, estimates that the proportion of older people (65 years and above) will rise from 13.5 per cent in 2010 to 22.7 per cent by 2050.

Taking mature workers seriously and understanding the value they could add to the IT industry is beneficial for all parties. By seriously considering mature workers, your company is more likely to be viewed as a viable agency for these candidates. 

Keeping up with industry trends is important for recruiters as it facilitates growth and business development. At Oncore, we understand that administrative tasks can get in the way of more important aspects of your company.

For advice on how your business can stay on top of daily tasks and ahead of recruitment trends, contact the team at Oncore.