Older workers in high demand

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An overwhelming majority (96%) of Canadian owners of small and medium sized businesses agree that workers 65 years and older offer more valuable experience and expertise than younger workers.

The aging population and increasing skills gapmeans workers are staying in the workforce longer, a fact that employers seem to be positive about according to new research from Investors Group. Two-thirds (69%) say this older cohort is not more expensive to employ, 85% cent say workers 65 years and older are just as productive as younger workers, and 79% agree senior workers have the required level of energy and ambition for their jobs.

“As more boomers and seniors continue working in their later years, it’s encouraging to see that their value and contribution to the workplace are acknowledged by Canada’s small business owners,” says Dave Ablett, Director, Tax and Estate Planning at Investors Group.  “At the same time, finding work in later years will require thinking outside the box and a sound retirement plan to ease the transition into a new phase of life.”

However, small business owners still aren’t predisposed to put this demographic on the payroll as new workers. The study reveals that while 31% currently have employment opportunities within their organizations, most believe it’s not likely that the position will be filled by someone older than 65 now, or in the future. Half (51%) of the survey respondents also concede health issues are more likely to affect the attendance or job performance of workers who are seniors.

“Whether it is a second career or a phased-in-retirement, flexibility is key to retaining and even acquiring older talent and enabling them to add value to the business as they continue to pursue their career interests,” Ablett said.

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