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Employers bend to Gen Y’s demands

Australian employers still favour Generation Y ahead of older workers despite evidence of an ageing workforce, according to a new national salary survey.

Gen YThe 2010 survey of small and large companies, conducted by The Australian Institute of Management (AIM), found that the average age of the workforce has increased in 45.9 percent of small companies and 44.8 percent of large companies. Despite these increases, the survey also found that only 5.6 percent of small companies and 6.8 percent of large companies amended company policies in accordance with older workers’ demands over the past few years.

The statistics add support to the well-known trend that the Australian population is ageing says AIM’s Research & HR Consulting Manager Matt Drinan.

“One of the biggest issues businesses will face coming out of the financial crisis is a skills shortage. Companies need to ensure that they have effective policies in place not only to hold on to but attract experienced older workers, otherwise they will risk losing a potentially rich source of talent,” warns Mr Drinan.

“There’s also a perception that because older workers are approaching the end of their careers that their career development needs are somehow less important.  This is a mistake as many older workers and indeed, their organisations, would benefit from training directed at updating their skills,” adds Mr Drinan.

According to the survey, the company policy that was most commonly changed to accommodate Generation Y was the availability of flexible working hours, followed by performance, training and career development plans.

“The survey indicates that younger workers are clearly very motivated to do their jobs well and want access to the training needed to succeed as well as a framework for career progression.  But more important than that is flexibility, with many young workers wanting to maintain an all-important balance between work and their personal interests,” says Mr Drinan.