Alberta launches action plan to retain mature workers

Myths around productivity, turnover part of challenge
||Last Updated: 05/02/2011

The Alberta government has launched an action plan to encourage more mature workers to remain in the workforce.

“Declining birth rates, the aging baby boom generation and increasing life expectancy are creating the perfect storm leading to future labour shortages,” said Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. “This action plan not only strives to increase mature worker labour force participation but also seeks to reduce the loss of experience, corporate memory and leadership that can occur when people retire.”

Engaging the Mature Worker: An Action Plan for Alberta identifies four overarching goals to support mature workers in the labour force: engage employers, support mature workers, promote active aging and promote a supportive policy environment.

Planned actions include:

working with employers to retain mature workers by developing age-friendly work environments, offering flexible work arrangements and phased retirement

• supporting employers by collaborating on tools for succession planning

• supporting mature workers who want to continue working by offering employment and career services and post-secondary educational options

• creating greater public awareness of changing expectations for older workers

• revising retirement programs and pension policies to support mature workers choosing to remain in the labour force.

Implementation of the action plan will take place over a number of years, said the government. If the trend toward increased labour force participation of mature workers is encouraged, an additional 40,000 mature workers would continue to be active in the workforce 10 years from now.

There are several hurdles to overcome, according to the report, such as a lack of employer strategies to attract and retain mature workers. There are also myths about high mature-worker turnover and low productivity and the misconception that mature workers can’t learn new technology or skills — which may mean they are not offered the same training opportunities as their younger counterparts.

“Developing supports for hiring and retaining mature workers and promoting human

capital investment will take the co-operation of all partners, in particular employers,

industry, training providers, government and individual workers,” said Engaging the Mature Worker. “As partners work together, a new map of the working world is being created — one in which employers recognize that mature workers are among their most valuable assets, and mature workers continue to demonstrate their value, potential and ability to contribute.”

The full action plans is available at Employment Alberta.

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