Recruiting and retaining older workers

This practical guide is for employers wishing to tap into the full labour market, regardless of age. It includes ideas and information on recruitment, development and retention.

Valuing Experience - A practical guide to recruiting and retaining older workers (246k pdf)

12 tips for employing older workers

  1. Age-proof your organisation by identifying what you want to achieve, such as retention of skills and knowledge for competitive advantage.
  2. Identify the current age profile of your organisation so that you know of retirement intentions and can effectively plan for succession.
  3. To encourage job applications from older workers, consider different forms of flexible work arrangements including shorter weeks, extended leave periods and quality part-time work. 
  4. Ensure job advertisements and job descriptions do not refer to age in either words or images and do not directly or indirectly discriminate against older workers.
  5. Commit at the top of your organisation at CEO and senior management level to ensure a business culture that values age and experience in the workforce.
  6. Equip managers and supervisors to enhance the performance of older workers through awareness training, career discussion tools and effective communication.
  7. Focus on performance not age to ensure workers have the skills, knowledge and motivation for the job and ensure your performance management system is flexible to cater for a diverse range of employees.
  8. Address performance issues proactively as soon as possible to avoid hard conversations about poor or deteriorating performance and ensure all employees are treated fairly and with dignity.
  9. Consult older employees about decisions that affect them and what would motivate them.
  10. To ensure your organisation has up-to-date skills, actively offer older workers appropriate training and development opportunities and ensure different learning styles are catered for.
  11. Re-design jobs to reduce demands such as risk of injury or burnout while retaining experience and consider older workers for mentoring, pairing or "buddy" systems, quality control or trouble-shooting roles.
  12. Offer phased retirement opportunities to extend the working lives of valued older employees.
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