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Mature workers all but ignored as a source of labour by Canadian organizations


October 2008 - Most Canadian employers are not targeting mature workers with specific policies and programs, according to the findings of a Conference Board of Canada survey released today.

“The shrinking pool of younger workers will not be sufficient to replace retiring baby boomers,” says Prem Benimadhu, vice-president, governance and human resource management.  “Canadian organizations argue that the aging workforce is an important issue, but they are not customizing their HR policies and programs for workers over the age of 50. The few organizations that have tailored HR policies and programs for older workers have been successful at attracting and retaining them.”

Although many respondents identified the aging of their workforce as a concern, only six per cent of respondents said they are focusing on retaining mature workers, while 11 per cent indicated they are actively focused on attracting and recruiting mature workers. Only seven per cent formally consider mature workers as a distinct employee group.

The report, Harnessing the Power: Recruiting, Engaging and Retaining Mature Workers, summarizes the results of a survey of 109 primarily mid-sized and large Canadian organizations, conducted between June and August 2008.

Among the few employers that have programs targeted to recruit mature workers, almost three-quarters reported having been successful in their recruitment efforts, compared to just under one-quarter of those without targeted programs. Similarly, four in five organizations that have focused on retaining mature workers reported success, while just one-third of organizations without such a focus indicated success.   

Policies and programs directed specifically to older workers include: phased retirement programs, mentorship programs, special projects, job redesign, continuous learning, and efforts to reduce age discrimination in the workplace.

To read more about the report, visit

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