Age Management



Combining the skills and experience of older workers with the enthusiasm of younger employees makes a more productive workplace.

Of Canada’s 19.7-million labour force, about 5.0 million
persons (25%) are 55 years of age or older, most of whom
are between 55 and 65. (Only about 4% of the labour force
is over 65.) This pool of older workers is a rich resource of
knowledge and skills. Introduction of an age-management
strategy within every organization will provide
opportunities for both the younger and older worker while
increasing the efficiency of the business. Both government
and industry are attempting to facilitate the intergenerational transfer of knowledge, but education takes time; the accumulation of skills through experience can take a long time. Organizations, with their daily demand for traditional as well as new skills, cannot just wait for the education system to provide the new skills.

As can be expected, a person’s work abilities may decline with aging as both physical and mental functions diminish with aging. Because the natural rate of physical and mental decline depends on each individual and is not indicated by universal markers such as teething, walking, talking and puberty in children, it is difficult to determine an exact age when an individual’s physical and mental capacity suggests retirement.

Enforce Compliance with Safety Rules

Studies of European workers have found that workers over 50 are more likely to have accidents within the
workplace regardless of the amount of training provided before the job commenced. This suggests that
employers need to provide the best safety equipment and rigorously enforce compliance with all safety
procedures. Safety should be part of every job.

The accident experience of older workers should temper the sometimes risky practical joking and
carelessness of some younger workers by showing them potentially dangerous situations and behaviours.
With old and young looking out for one another, an overall safer workplace should reduce the high cost of
injury not only to the individual but also to the business.

Retain the Mature Worker and Benefit the Organization

Offering the mature worker the opportunity to work at full capacity provides benefits to the younger worker. Accommodating the needs of older workers can certainly assist in maintaining productivity and may even reduce the possibility of injury to employees or damage to property that often accompany exhaustion or inattentiveness brought on by the work environment.

Establish flexible work schedules.

Greater Productivity

Many factors will improve the workplace and therefore employee productivity:

  • Establish flexible working schedules not only in the number of hours worked per day, but also the time of day that work is performed. For example, doing roofing in the early morning or later in the day when temperatures are lower than between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. will enhance both productivity and safety.
  • Rotate jobs not only to remove monotony (a contributor to accidents) but also to provide a greater depth and range of skills within the workplace among more employees so that a task does not get interrupted when someone leaves, goes on vacation or is off sick.
  • Ensure a mix of younger workers in any work team. Not only can “old dogs ” learn new tricks, but “young dogs” can learn old tricks. Stress on older workers can be reduced if younger workers take on the more demanding physical elements of the task.
  • Reduce the stress on all employees by investing in:
    • ergonomically designed tools and machinery and a workplace environment that reduces stress
      through noise reduction, mats on floors and appropriate lighting and air conditioning
    • personal safety equipment that not only complies with legislation, but also meets the needs of all
    • safety education and insistence that all safety rules and regulations be followed
    • employee-by-employee risk assessment; younger employees would be evaluated on their ability to
      complete a task without the experience of a seasoned veteran.

Combine and Continue

There are many 50+ workers who want to continue working not only for the income but also because they
enjoy working and need to feel a purpose in life. A program that considers the work ability of employees on an individual basis regardless of age and co-mingles employees of different ages in the performance of tasks is an excellent means of ensuring the continuation of business by combining the skills and patience of the older generation with the enthusiasm and productivity of the younger worker.



The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Allan Madan and Madan Chartered Accountant will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.


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