MRO Magazine

Research reveals few employers taking action to retain older workers

Toronto, ON -- A new survey finds that only 17% of employers in Canada have strategies in place to recruit older wo...

Toronto, ON — A new survey finds that only 17% of employers in Canada have strategies in place to recruit older workers and only 24% have implemented retention strategies to keep them participating in the workforce.

Manpower Canada’s survey was conducted to determine the extent to which employers have recruiting and/or retention strategies in place for workers age 50 and above. The survey of more than 1,300 Canadian employers reveals that 67% said that they do not have a strategy in place to recruit or retain older workers.

Many employers are not considering the percentage of their workforce that is set to retire in the next five to 10 years and the potential loss of productivity and intellectual capital that will occur when those people leave their company, said Lori Rogers, vice-president of operations, Manpower Canada. If employers dont act soon, they will fail to win the war for talent, as older adults will be relied upon as one of the most important sources of talent for the future workforce.

The global survey of 28,000 employers across 25 countries and territories, found that employers in Japan and Singapore are far ahead of their international counterparts with 83% and 53% of employers surveyed, respectively, working proactively to retain their older employees.


Conversely, in Italy and Spain far fewer employers, both at 6%, have such strategies in place. In 19 of the 25 countries where employers were surveyed, retention strategies were more prevalent than recruiting strategies for older workers. This appears to be due to the fact that many of these countries have government legislation or programs in place to encourage employers to retain older workers.

The extent to which employers have addressed the recruitment and retention of older workers to ease talent shortages depends upon a variety of complex factors. However, Manpower has found the major variables to be:

– The size of the national labour pool;

– The demographic profile of the labour pool;

– The degree to which talent shortages are being experienced at present; and

– Government legislation or programs that either promote or discourage labour force participation by older workers.

According to the OECD, between 2025-2030, 12 million people a year will be exiting the global workforce . Employers can no longer ignore the demographic forecasts and evidence of growing talent shortages, said Rogers. The risk of negative impact on productivity and the company knowledge base is so great that employers may not be able to avoid it unless they take proactive measures to engage the older workforce.

A newly published Manpower white paper, The New Agenda for an Older Workforce, explores the increasing reality of the global aging workforce, the resulting gaps in workforce supply, and the demand that this is creating. It proposes strategies that companies can adopt to circumvent these talent challenges; recommendations on how employers can help older employees extend their careers should they choose to do so; and suggestions for the role that governments can play to help solve the older worker conundrum.

The conundrum on the horizon is that the older employees who have the talent companies most need to retain are those who have the financial flexibility and employment options to retire or downshift to a more flexible work arrangement, said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc.

The best way to attract and retain older workers is to have jobs they want, and what they want is flexible, part-time jobs that interest them. It may be a few more years before employers determine how to effectively offer the part-time roles that mature adults would prefer, he added.


Manpower Inc. conducted a survey of 28,000 employers in 25 countries and territories regarding the recruiting and retention of older workers. The 25 countries and territories that participated in the survey are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, and the U.S.

Employers were asked two questions related to the recruiting and retention of older workers:

A large percentage of the population is aging and will be eligible for retirement soon, which is expected to create talent shortages for employers over the next 10 years and beyond. In light of this challenge, has your organization developed a strategy to recruit older workers into your organization and retain your older workers past retirement age? (For the purpose of the research, the term older worker is defined as those age 50 and above.)

More information can be found on Manpower Canadas Web sites: and