10 August 2007

help me make it through the

I subscribe to a newsletter from a firm of training providers. The theme of the latest newsletter was employing older (mature age) workers. Some snippets, with comments:

"Many employers are beginning to recognise the benefits of employing mature age
people. Some have found that the push to employ younger generations has led to a greater rate of staff turnover. Mature age employees generally tend to be more
reliable, committed and dependable. They are likely to remain with an employer
longer than their younger counterparts, which ensures that the benefits of training and business and product knowledge stay with the organisation over a longer period of time. Mature age people make excellent mentors and coaches for younger staff, passing on a wealth of information and skills. They often contribute a degree of maturity that is an added advantage when dealing with both internal and external customers. Furthermore, they tend to have a strong work ethic and produce high quality work."

Translation: the reduce-costs-by-whatever-means movement of the early 90s, as economic rationalism took hold, actually has cost us longer term. All knowledge and energy does not reside in HR managers under the age of 25. Or CEOs and other executives on cushioned or protected employment arrangements. Middle managers who apparently do nothing actually kept the wheels turning. How were we to know?

"Policies, programs and legislation that determine fiscal, financial and industrial relations practices often both reflect and influence attitudes within the business and wider community. Superannuation, payroll tax and workers compensation can provide disincentives through the loss of benefits such as concessions. Negative attitudes and stereotypes about the value of mature age workers are still prevalent and need to be actively challenged in every sector. Some employers still fear that they may not see the return on their investment in training mature age workers. Some have concerns about the mental or physical capacity of mature age workers. The large number of job advertisements seeking juniors indicates a reluctance to pay higher wages and salaries for maturity and experience. Based on the evidence to support the value of mature age workers, the assumptions underlying this practice can be challenged. It many instances, it may be more beneficial to engage older workers."

Yes, economic rationalism had longer term costs. How were we to know? So many people were preaching it, the theory just seemed so...so....rational. But we senior executives know how the world works and if we actually asked our workforce they might tell us something....different. Best to leave it alone.

"Mature age workers are not a homogeneous category but present a range of different needs, preferences and priorities. While workforce participation for some is restricted due to poor health, others have boundless energy and enthusiasm and are keen to continue working. Some may feel compelled to do so due to financial commitments. Many enjoy the continuing stimulation and challenge of work as well as the social interaction with colleagues. There is growing recognition of the need for informed choice by members of this group about their employment preferences. While there is a need to support and encourage mature age workers to return to or enter the workforce, it is important that this not become coercive. All people should be given equal opportunity in employment, education and training, regardless of age. Options such as phased retirement, flexible working hours, job sharing and home-based work respond to the changing needs of older workers. Attitudes also need flexing. We need to challenge a culture that regards our older citizens as worn out, physically and mentally incapacitated, behind-the-times seniors who should sign up for bingo and bowls and pack their bags for the nursing home!"

Think for yourselves, you fuckwits. The world doesn't stop turning after your 25th birthday. And training consultants could possibly be a little bit less condescending.

Apart from that, all tickety-boo.

No political discussion or observations, it'll be a bloody 3 months or so. Nothing happening here to influence anything momentous, know what I mean?

A couple of conversations over the past 2 or 3 days have restored my faith in fundamental human nature. We just want to look after our families, friends and those we care a bit about. Help each other get through the day - and the night.

Simple really.

P2B=quite high but I couldn't express what I'd like to talk about adequately so I won't try.

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