Start-ups urged to consider older, more productive workers

Start-ups shouldn’t overlook mature age workers during the recruitment process, an industry expert says, with a new report revealing older workers are often the most productive employees.


The latest Ernst & Young Australian Productivity Pulse, based on a survey of almost 2,500 employees, suggests people become more motivated in their jobs as they grow older.


The survey measures Australian workers’ sentiment around the biggest barriers hindering productivity, and the opportunities available to improve performance.


According to the survey, 80% of respondents from the 55-64 age bracket say they are motivated to perform to the best of their ability, compared to 61% of those aged 20-24.


The survey also found that salary, incentives and bonuses are among the least motivating factors for those aged over 45. In contrast, these are the main motivators for those aged under 45.


Heidi Holmes, managing director of niche job site, says cash-strapped, time-poor start-ups should look upon mature aged workers as prime job candidates.


“In a youth-obsessed market, many recruiters and employers are dismissing the mature market even though they are likely to deliver higher productivity [and] lower turnover,” Holmes says.


“[They are] less demanding than their younger counterparts. There are also more of them. For every one new labour market entrant, there are seven available over the age of 45.”


Holmes says many older workers need to extend their working years to supplement deleted super funds, increased living costs, and the prospect of looking after two generations of dependents.


“Time and time again, we are seeing compelling research to support hiring mature age workers for financial and diversity reasons, yet employers are still reluctant to specifically target this audience,” she says.


Holmes says some employers are starting to take advantage of the neglected talent pool, including The Smart Group, a direct sales and marketing company.


“The standard of the applicants that we have received so far has been great and we have had a huge success rate,” company spokesperson Rachel Davis says.


Vicki Crowe, managing director of Canon Recruitment, believes divorced middle-aged women are ideal job candidates as they are more inclined to work in order to support themselves.


According to Crowe, these employees also tend to be more committed to one employer than their younger, job-hopping counterparts.


“Gen Y employees change jobs a lot more [whereas] a divorced middle-aged woman has been identified as a long-serving employee,” Crowe says.


“In an ideal world when businesses are looking for a [job] candidate, they’re trying to find her.”


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