Posted by suzanne on Jan 31, 2016
It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to focus on Canada’s aging workforce at the recent symposium devoted to this topic. In fact, since presenting at CEDEC‘s Maturing Workforce Symposium held at Cannexus16 a few days ago, I have continued to reflect on some critical issues.
The aging population equates to an aging labour force and this has implications at the individual, organizational and societal level. These complex issues demand employer policy as well as social policy to help address them.
Life spans have increased and individuals are responsible for saving more for their retirement at the same time that financial markets and investment returns are shaky. It is no wonder various polls report that more people expect to continue working past traditional retirement age.
Mature or older workers have different goals and needs than younger age groups. They want flexibility from employers. They need career pathways that help them meet specific objectives.
Both the way we work and the linear career path of the past have changed. This collides with our intergenerational workplace and makes it urgent that employers create new programs and policies to facilitate talent management, training and development and career progression.
Later life career development is new terrain in the work-life landscape. Navigating job change and moving into mentorship roles are difficult tasks. In addition, succession planning and knowledge transfer need to be mapped out. Businesses and organizations are trying to identify and understand what this means in their workplace.
With these powerful demographic and economic forces, we are undergoing a major social and cultural shift surrounding later life work and retirement. We are in a revolutionary transition and social policy is required to help guide and manage this significant change that will affect established social structures in Canada. New evidence-based policies and programs are required.
Finally, these issues are complex. Collaboration and partnership are required to navigate this emerging later life landscape.
Posted by suzanne on Apr 9, 2015
Mature individuals have a great deal to offer. Leveraging their experience, abilities and wisdom is critical in our aging society.
In Western society, there is a tendency to overlook mature and experienced workers. They do not receive the respect accorded to them in the past, or in other countries.
Recently, the New York Times published a lovely compendium of experienced masters - individuals who are at the top of their craft. These inspiring people, of mature age, continue to be highly productive older adults who are passionate about the work they do.
Over and above the meaning and purpose work offers for these individuals, their stories convey several key messages. First, their stories highlight their openness to learning and being present in the moment. These are qualities that need to be cultivated. Also evident is the importance of process and the honing of great works over time. Therefore, patience, dedication and self awareness are critical to becoming a master and developing seminal and socially meaningful work. In addition, they are very inspiring. Finally, I wonder if their age matters because it is their talent and their craft that stand out to me.
In any case, masters is a fitting description for them.
LEWIS H. LAPHAM (2014). Older masters at the top of their game, New York Times Magazine.