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Throwing out the baby boomers with the bath water


When is enough enough?

  • Ageist comments
  • Preconceived views on flexibility, agility, dynamics and expectations

When will those who are listening with preconceived perceptions finally take note?

Today it should be about outcomes, not age.

If employers are looking for set and forget talent, then maybe the 50+ age group is where they can start. Today there is a global talent crisis coming at us like a freight train. Baby boomers are going to steadily step out of the workforce, and their transition needs to be smart – in fact it’s business critical. Businesses need to recognise the IP they are losing and find ways to embed the knowledge with those who are left behind.

Smarter organisations are looking at reducing hours, while introducing job sharing and mentoring programs. Forward-looking organisations are considering what the future skills will be, identifying the gaps and developing training to bridge those gaps.

Everyone’s at risk
Meanwhile, those in the twenty-something age bracket are at threat of being in skill-redundant roles just as much as the 50+ group. The difference between the two may well be that those who are 50+ have experienced economic downturns, the GFC and the booming of the technology era – they have seen business processes transform and have embraced the learning.

The professional 50+ group’s career experience has required the embracing of innovation. They have often driven it, looking ahead to identify where to from here.

As a result, they are well positioned to embrace the future needs of business seamlessly. This includes shifts in skills required, and where the job is located (home and/or office based). It will be just another challenge that they are well equipped to embrace – should you make them feel welcome.

So today, rather than thinking, “How old is too old?”, how about considering the outcomes required and demonstrated competence at delivering, and leaving the ageist antiquated notions to those organisations who will fall behind. Views like “It needs a younger person,” often belong in the dark ages. It’s all about ‘best fit’ and, sometimes, that should be based on experience.

Losing to overseas competitors
Fuelled by globalisation, emerging economies continue to attract Australian skills and talent into their markets, with experience being the key factor. Not age. Talent shortages in these countries demand they look outside. They are very proactive with this, with technology giving them the tools to access it.

Progressive organisations are embracing this available talent and looking for ways to attract it by contributing to the ongoing development of their workforce. This ensures their employees’ ongoing engagement, contribution and tenure are maximised on – regardless of age!

Opportunity continues to knock for our best and brightest, regardless of age, and our talent is responding. So I ask you, in Australia, when is enough enough?


About the Author

Louisa HinchenLouisa is an Associate Director at Morgan Consulting. A unique recruitment professional, she leads by example and believes that, at Morgan Consulting, it is genuinely about you. You the customer and you the candidate. It is no surprise that she speaks and writes with passion about customer service.

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