Wednesday, 02 November 2011
Ms Wanda Pryor, a PhD candidate and casual sessional lecturer for Recruitment and Retention in the School of Management, recently shared her expertise at the 9th Asia/Oceania Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology. She spoke on the topic of mature-aged managers during a session about the ageing workforce.
The Geriatrics and Gerontology conference is held every four years, drawing together a diverse range of researchers, practitioners, service providers, policy and planning representatives, educators and others working in all areas of ageing, to discuss the latest findings in the field of ageing and healthy ageing. It was held this year in Melbourne from 23 to 27 October.
Wanda’s presentation, ‘Harnessing the Knowledge of Mature Age Managers’, was based on her research into the area of mature-aged managers, which began following discussions with senior Australian executives who were not too concerned about the loss of specialised knowledge that occurs when their high-performing mature-aged managers leave employment.
“We’re talking about a range of knowledge: from where documents are, through to how to do a job effectively. All too often remaining employees search futilely for answers to questions that have already been answered, recreate analyses that have been conducted many times over, or fail to heed previously learned lessons – all of which cost money and time,” she said.
During her research she found that a major adjustment in thinking about the value of corporate knowledge was needed, as these Australian companies were in danger of missing out on business opportunities by not harnessing the knowledge held by their mature-aged managers.
“Companies need to realise and build on the strengths of both younger and older workers in terms of building capacity that will sustain businesses into the future,” she said.
“What is happening now is that the 55 to 65 year olds appear to be denied the chance to continue working by employers unwilling to hire or retain them, are voluntarily choosing to stop work before they reach 65 and there are those who are keen to go back to work after retirement.
“This is at a time when Australia faces a shortage of labour and skills, as well as an ageing workforce. This new demography is already outnumbering the supply of younger workers which means if not attempts are made to identify, capture and share knowledge, a mass exodus of workers will cause a crippling loss of productivity.”
Contact Wanda Pryor for more information on her research into mature age managers.
Ms Wanda Pryor