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Hiring older workers: the incentive for business

As the ink dries on the 2014-15 federal budget, a number of business groups believe the government didn’t go far enough in terms of encouraging business to hire new staff.

Paul Barbaro, Executive General Manager of recruiting firm Clarius Group, says although the budget is a relatively good outcome for business, he is concerned about the take-up of certain initiatives.

“While we support the tax rate cut for SMB’s, the Government could have gone further to incentivise business to hire people. This could have been in the form of an additional tax cut, from the 1.5% up to 3 per cent, for businesses prepared to reinvest back into people,” Barbaro said.

The new $10,000 incentive payment is one of the key budget initiatives aimed at encouraging employers to hire over 50s.

Previously, a $3,250 payment was available to business owners who kept on workers aged over 50 for more than six months. That payment has now been expanded, and businesses that employ over-50s receive a $3,000 payment followed by a second $3,000 payment if they keep them employed for 12 months. An additional $2,000 will be given to those who keep over 50s employed for 18 months and a final $2,000 payment will be given to organisations that employ them for over two years.

Barbaro commented that while the support for mature aged workers was positive, and addressed to some degree, the aging population and the difficulties for mature aged candidates to be considered for roles. However he believed it would have ‘minimum’ pickup given the two-year employment caveat on receiving the full bonus.

Steve Shepherd, Employment Analyst at Randstad, agreed that the new scheme will help address the issues surrounding the financial impact of supporting an ageing population, but also believed it still has some way to go to meet business demand.

“Businesses need to recognise that mature workers still have a lot to offer and have a wealth of experience. With life expectancy increasing, keeping workers in the workforce longer will be a critical issue for business in meeting their needs. There is no reason for businesses to discount mature jobseekers and instead should be looking to them to add value to the business, especially as Australia now has less school leavers entering the workforce.

Businesses must also ensure they build strong recruitment and retention strategies that provides them with a mature, flexible and skilled workforce.

“Part of this will involve offering tailored working options and flexible working arrangements, rather than a full stop at retirement, to ensure they retain their top talent for many years after the average workforce tenure. Not only will this allow them to take advantage of the new government scheme, but also one of Australia’s most invaluable assets – its exceptionally skilled and experienced mature workers.”

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Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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