Australia, together with most other developed and developing countries, faces a difficult demographic pattern in the first half of the twenty‐first century, due to a low and declining birth rate and an ageing population. This has led to an ageing workforce, with a relative shortage of younger entrants. One issue for government is what further steps they could initiate to persuade more people to remain in the labour force beyond the currently median retiring age of around 55 years. Employers will need to consider the degree to which they are prepared to reverse present negative attitudes towards employment of older staff, and workers need to resolve whether they need or desire to keep working and under what conditions. Boundaries constructed by government policy and employer actions, and their resolution by older individuals, form the content of this paper. The paper concludes that employers now face the management of up to four generational groups and resolving their intergenerational differences will present as a major future challenge. Revisiting practices for managing older workers will be essential and the paper offers suggestions for employers towards more effective utilisation of their older staff and more effective integration of workers of all age groups.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited