Today’s Editorial December 04: Older workers still valuable

Public and private sector businesses in the Cayman Islands are missing out on one of our country’s most valuable assets – the older worker.

While some businesses don’t have a mandatory retirement age, Government does.

We think someone who is 60 years old shouldn’t be put out to pasture just because of their age.

Keeping older workers on the job longer is increasingly being viewed the world over as beneficial to business productivity, employee retention and corporate citizenship.

So it was good to see our governing leaders address the issue of providing more employment opportunities to senior citizens during a session of the Legislative Assembly.

If mature employees are good at what they do and desire to stay on a company’s payroll, they should be allowed to.

One reason older employees want to continue to work is that they believe they still have much to offer and it’s good for their self worth.

When an older person retires, he’s taking with him institutional knowledge and wisdom that could benefit younger workers.

Financial worries are also a consideration for older workers. Our pension laws have been on the books only since 1999, so not everyone eligible to retire because of age will have enough of a nest egg to live on.

Consider the value of older workers:

They have the ability to mentor younger employees, which often results in higher retention and job satisfaction for all;

They need less supervision;

Their commitment and dedication make a big impact on productivity;

And their knowledge and experience with the company are vast.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts rightfully said in the LA that this is an issue Government will have a struggle dealing with, because there are many factors to consider when doing away with a mandatory retirement age.

But the public and private sector can come up with ways to keep older employees on the payroll through strategic planning that includes training, flexibility and accommodation.

Employers can retain their older workers by offering them flex time and creating a corporate culture that values older workers.

We think that savvy corporate leaders in and out of government will recognise the potential advantages offered by older workers and adjust their policies and procedures accordingly.

Mandating retirement age isn’t something for government to do through legislation, but it can work with the private sector to ensure our older workers are retained and appreciated.

We need to focus on ability, not age.

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