Rate of flexible work not improving

Australian businesses are becoming increasingly reluctant to employ mature workers and mothers returning to the workforce, citing managing flexible working arrangements as the major barrier.

That’s according to a new study from Kronos, which found just 54 per cent of employers are willing to provide flexible work arrangements. Half the employers surveyed stated that flexibility is too disruptive to the working environment.

Over 96 per cent of Australians aged 55-64 on a career break said that they were keen to return to work.

Despite employers’ negativity, Heidi Holmes of Adage, the job search website for mature workers, believes older people have a lot to offer businesses.

Rather than focusing on the perceived difficulties of providing flexible working arrangements, businesses should be looking at the benefits older workers can bring to the table.

“Employers are becoming increasingly aware of the power of reflecting your customer base in your workforce. The mature market is a very important consumer segment, holding over 50 per cent of household wealth in Australia,” Holmes said.

“Older workers are often customer centric and have an ability to empathise with customer needs. Having employees that understand and resonate with the boomer consumer will become increasingly important for employers going forward,” she added.

The new federal government has announced a new incentive to encourage businesses to hire older workers, yet Holmes believes it won’t make any real impact unless it’s supported by other initiatives that educate employers on the benefits of doing so.

“We need to create a society where older people are respected and valued to ensure they are able to continue to make a productive contribution to society if they desire,” Holmes added.

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