Technology skills threat to older workers
Original article full title Technology skills threat to older workers: Staff risking long-term unemployment because training is ‘heavily-geared’ towards young people Published by Daily Mail Australia 16 April 2015 by Louise Eccles Business Correspondent
A generation of older workers are risking redundancy and long-term unemployment because of poor technology skills, it is claimed.
Experts said training was ‘heavily geared’ towards young people, meaning many older workers were left behind in the workplace. This left them vulnerable when companies start ‘shedding’ jobs.
While older generations often pride themselves on their numeracy and literacy skills, even these could ‘go stale’ with age, a study warned.
The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) said research showed that over-55s had the same literacy and numeracy skills as those aged 16 to 24 – and were worse at these skills than colleagues in their 30s and 40s.
The AAT said the death of a ‘job for life’ meant workers could no longer rely on loyalty to their company and experience to take them through to retirement with the same employer.
A survey by the AAT found that, while people in their twenties, thirties and forties aspired to take a master’s degree in the future or a vocational qualification, this stopped at 55, when most respondents said they were unlikely to undertake a formal qualification.
A third of over-55s cited their age as the reason for not wanting to take a new qualification.
But the AAT said the reality was they may have a ‘lack of knowledge of what modern and technological tools there are available which could assist them carrying out their tasks’.
Mark Farrar, of the AAT, said: ‘Older generations are faced with the greatest barriers when it comes to reskilling.
‘Given rapid economic and technological changes, many traditional jobs are less secure than in the past and older workers are increasingly facing the threat of redundancy.
‘The UK’s ageing population is growing and the increased retirement age means people are working for longer.
‘The challenge is therefore to ensure people can continue to participate in the labour market at the later stage of their working lives.’
According to the Office for National Statistics, workers aged 55 and over are less likely to be unemployed than younger workers.
But older unemployed people are more likely to have been out of work for 12 months or longer, suggesting they find it harder to find a new job if they do find themselves out of work.
The accountancy body said older men were particularly vulnerable to job losses in the declining mining, agriculture and manufacturing industries, while women were heavily over-represented in the public sector so could face risks from cuts to civil servants.
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