2 min read

5 myths about mature-age workers dispelled

The knowledge and wisdom that comes with age is highly valued in many international cultures.

However, some workplaces seem to push their older workers into retirement or make their roles redundant as quickly as possible, particularly if they don’t fit an organisational stereotype, or are seen as less energetic, less flexible, and more accident-prone than their younger counterparts.

But is this true about mature-age workers? Are they all downside with no upside?

Mature-age people can bring indispensable skills, knowledge and awareness to an organisation that a lot of younger workers may not be able to offer.

Also, mature-age workers have high retention rates. The Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Mobility Survey 2013 found that workers aged over 45 who have been employed at a business for more than 12 months are far less likely to change jobs than workers aged between 20-34 years.

In the table below we dispel 5 commonly held misconceptions about mature-age workers.

Myth Fact
Mature-age workers are unable or unwilling to learn new things, and avoid new approaches to tasks and new technologies. Mature-age workers typically have a broad base of transferrable knowledge and skills that can help them to learn new ways of completing tasks.
Mature-age workers are less productive than other workers. According to a 2006 Australian Health Management study, workers over the age of 55 performed at their best for approximately 7 hours out of an 8-hour day – this was higher than any other age group studied.
Mature-age workers have impaired mental or intellectual capacity. Mature-age workers retain a wealth of knowledge that they can pass on to other workers. For this reason, they are often excellent workplace mentors and coaches.
Mature-age workers are more likely to suffer a workplace injury, and are more often absent or late for work than younger workers. A study in 2004 by the Australian mining industry demonstrated that mature-age workers were more productive, had fewer accidents and had fewer absences from work compared with younger workers.
Mature-age workers have less education and are less qualified than younger workers. Mature-age workers are often just as qualified as younger workers. They are also likely to have more experience, and their work history and performance background can be more thoroughly checked since they have usually worked for a longer period,

The Australian Government also provides financial incentives to employers who recruit mature-age workers through their Restart Wage Subsidy and Career Transition Assistance programs.

Businesses can receive payments of up to $10,000.

Subscribe to the Health & Safety Bulletin

From the experts behind the Health & Safety Handbook, the Bulletin brings you the latest work health and safety news, legal updates, case law and practical advice straight to your inbox every week.

Sending confirmation email...
Great! Now check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.
Please enter a valid email address!