Irish employers ‘missing opportunity’ to retain knowledge of retiring workers

The survey indicated that 43% of employers make available the option of remote, or home-based, working arrangements. File photograph: Getty Images

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Irish employers are “missing the opportunity” to retain knowledge from retiring workers, according to a survey by recruiters Hays Ireland.

The poll of 1,600 employers and employees found that 22 per cent of workers have indicated their plans to retire within the next five years. But only 38 per cent of employers have discussed retirement plans with those workers. Hays said this means “many are losing out on opportunities to hold on to skills, transfer knowledge or support longer life working or reskilling”.

The recruiter said that there was a “notable communication disconnect” between retiring workers and employers, underscored by the fact that just 43 per cent of employers here said they offer retirement planning options to employees over the age of 50.

Labour market

The most recent labour force survey by the Central Statistics Office showed people at work in the State at a record high of 2.64 million between April and June of this year.

Hays said that despite the competitive labour market, many employers are “reluctant to engage with older employees on the subject of future career and retirement plans” and are not doing enough to hold on to older workers.

Overall, 72 per cent of employers say they were actively hiring staff over the age of 50, only 12 per cent say they aren’t, while 15 per cent were unsure.

The survey found that among employees and employers, flexible working hours were considered the most important factor in attracting and retaining workers over the age of 50.

Part-time work is provided to employees aged 50 and above by 15 per cent of employers, while 43 per cent make available the option of remote or home-based work.

Some 31 per cent of employers facilitate a four-day work week for workers over 50, and one-quarter offer compressed hours to allow for a five-day week’s hours in a four-day schedule.

‘Loss of expertise’

Managing director of Hays Ireland Maureen Lynch said that as older professionals may have thoughts of retirement sparked by the rapid pace of technological advancement, it could “potentially trigger a significant loss of expertise and experience from our industries. It’s important employers take measures to harness the potential of their experienced workforce and prevent a skills defect.”

According to 81 per cent of employers surveyed, training programmes for workers over the age of 50 help to attract talent.

“A solution lies in specialised training that addresses the unique needs of older workers and concerns. By tailoring training programmes to bridge any gaps, employers can help to ensure their older employees remain valuable contributors,” said Ms Lynch.


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