Experience matters: realising the potential of generational diversity
With five generations in the workplace, Australia now has the most generationally diverse workforce in history.
The Australian Public Service (APS) is taking the lead in realising the potential of ‘older’ Australians, encouraging a diverse workforce, capitalising on the strengths of varied experiences and perspectives, and challenging age-specific biases. This influence is having a flow-on effect: recent research by the Australian HR Institute and Australian Human Rights Commission found many organisations defined ‘older’ employees as 61-65 years of age, compared to 50-55 years in 2021, perceptions of what an older workforce looks like in 2023.
HR professionals play a critical role in supporting ‘older’ Australians seeking to join the APS, as well as harnessing the skills and experience of those who want to stay in the workforce.
Current APS employee, Susan, described her recent recruitment experience as fair and inclusive:
Fellow applicants were all different ages, my age was never discussed, and only my ability to do the role was considered. It did stand out that the playing field was level and merit-based, and the language used in questions and interactions was inclusive
The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) found ‘older’ workers in the APS also reported high levels of employee engagement and strongly believe in the purpose of the APS. Stronger engagement and connection are two motivating factors for Susan, “I feel energised to keep working for another 10-15 years knowing the work I do is contributing to the APS and the community.”
The proportion of ‘older’ employees in the APS has steadily increased since 2001. A large proportion of ‘older’ workers have worked in multiple agencies and are employed full time, with the median length of service being more than 17 years. This broad experience and service brings a wealth of benefits for APS employers.
APS HR professionals can continue supporting a growing ‘older’ workforce by adapting workplaces and practices to meet their needs by:
- promoting the benefits of age diversity in the APS
- challenging and removing aged-related barriers
- creating age-inclusive policies and work environments, and
- increasing our talent pool.
For further information and resources on removing age barriers and promoting generational inclusivity, visit:
- Mature Age Hub
- Australian Human Rights Commission
- Collaborative Partnership on Mature Age Employment