Retirement Expo

Older workers could offer a significant competitive advantage for future thinking companies

Skills shortages across the globe could be worsened as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age. These workers born during the 50’s and 60’s possess valuable skills and experience that will be lost to local economies when they retire over the next 5-10 years. On the other hand, many far-sighted companies around the world are working to recruit, retrain and engage older workers, recognising that they still have many active healthy years of work life left before old age. Such workers bring a lifetime of skills to the workplace and are highly motivated and productive. They take less sick leave, change jobs less often, possess superior interpersonal skills, deal better with customers and can even cost less than their younger colleagues as they no longer have as many young dependents to support. “Employers who recognise the value of today’s aging workers could possess a significant competitive advantage over the next 20 years,” says South African retirement expert and head of the Refirement Network, Lynda Smith.

“Many Baby Boomers have second or third marriages and large extended families with many dependents still to take care of, encouraging them to continue working as long as possible. A lack of sufficient retirement funding is also pressurizing aging Boomers to work longer in order to save up sufficient revenues for what could be a 30 year retirement span,” says Smith.“Due to medical advances and technologies, people are living significantly longer healthier lives. No other group in history has ever had such a long non-childbearing period in their adult lives where they are healthy enough to pursue meaningful work opportunities in the next 20-30 years before resting in their old age,” says Smith.

Changes in the world economy away from 8-5 full-time employment are making it easier for people to continue working, but on their own terms. Older workers are looking for flexible jobs that enable a good work-life balance and learning opportunities. Employers who fail to realise this may be missing the chance to create environments to leverage the skills and competency of older workers.

Smith will be sharing her insights on how older workers can follow their passion and purpose while still earning a pay cheque, at this year’s Retirement Expo to be held in Gauteng later this month. The workshop entitled ‘Work over 50’ will help individuals and companies understand how the world of work has changed and what this means for over 50s in their next season of life. It will help individuals identify their attitudes about retirement and the choices and changes they need to make in order to enjoy the retirement that they desire. The sessions will also help attendees identify their purpose and passions and to build a talent profile of all their valuable skills and life experiences that could be relevant to the next season of life, as well as giving some practical tips and insights into employment options available.

“Overall, employers who are willing to accommodate older workers can find a ready pool of talent for jobs that might otherwise go unfilled. Boomers who are unable or unwilling to find the right fit may create their own jobs during their retirement years. There are many people who want to stay engaged and could create businesses for themselves,” says Smith.

Smith will be running the workshop ‘Work over 50’ every day during the Retirement Expo which runs from 26-28 October at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg. The expo is the ideal opportunity for those already retired, nearing retirement or conscientiously planning ahead to come and be inspired about how fulfilling and gratifying retirement can be. Besides interactive workshops by industry experts, the expo will also include top notch exhibits on everything to do with mature life, activity areas to help prepare for an active, healthy and happy retirement, hobby areas showcasing an array of hobbies and a health oasis.

The Retirement Expo runs from 9am to 5pm daily and tickets cost R60 per person or R30 for those already enjoying their retirement, students and children under 18. For more information visit