Hiring Mature Workers
Using our Mature Workers to Fill the Labour Gap
As of the 2016 Census data, approximately 56% of PEI’s population was age 55 or older. This figure on PEI’s population was higher than the national poplation percentage in 2016 which is approximately 49% of the population being age 55 or older. As we know, PEI is a retirement destination for many Canadians and also has a reputation for this internationally. Now the question is,
How do we apply this knowledge to filling jobs and overcoming the labour gap?
The answer is simple, appeal to the mature workers all of the benefits of working in tourism! Mature workers who are retired, or not working full-time anymore, are an excellent source of human capital who have strong values and are looking for less responsibility than a full-time career, as they have already been through that part of their life. They are looking for fulfilling ways to spend their time now that they are able to focus on themselves and what they want to do.
While there are many misconceptions about hiring mature workers, employers need to start trying to attract them if they are wanting to fill, and maintain, their staffing levels. For a job to be appealing to mature workers, you need take in to account what they care about in a position at this point in their life…
- They want to enjoy themselves and have fun while they are working, since they have the flexibility and time to find a workplace that they are truly going to enjoy being a part of.
- Mature workers are, typically, not looking for advancement opportunities, which make them great candidates for consistent entry-level roles which can help with your retention.
- They may prefer to work part-time so they can also do other activities they enjoy in their off-time.
- Mature workers are also known for wanting seasonal positions, this way they are able to travel, or move away, through the winter months before returning to the Island for the summer once again.
Passport to Employment Tourism Program
TIAPEI has been actively searching for ways to help address the lack of workers in tourism for years. Ranging from appealing to young workers who have difficulty finding employment, to mature workers who are looking for more of a work-life balance now that they have time to do what they want to do. The Passport to Employment Program has been offered to mature workers by TIAPEI for over 10 years, and Kathy Livingstone, former TIAPEI Director of Education and Training, had been one of the driving forces behind the program. She says, “at the time there was a need to address the change in demographics of the population, as there were less and less young people entering the workforce while more people were retiring.” This still rings true today as tourism establishments struggle to find workers of any age.
“Various backgrounds have been represented in the program, from farmer to teacher to bookkeeper to personal support worker, and many more. These careers involve transferable skills in the areas of numeracy, literacy, teamwork, leadership, time management and communication, as well as personal values of motivation and a strong work ethic.”
– Jo-Anne White, Passport to Employment Facilitator
Today, the Passport to Employment Tourism Program includes 4-weeks of classroom style training where participants gain an understanding of the tourism industry and the employment options, create resumes and cover letters, and prepare for interviews. The Program also features a new addition of a 2-week work placement, on completion of the classroom section, in the accommodations sector.
Mature workers offer so many benefits to the tourism industry for helping to fill the labour gap we have been facing for the last few years, and is expected to continue for years to come. The Passport to Employment Tourism Program is a means of finding those mature workers who are still interested in working, and helping them to transition in to the tourism industry based on their interests and skills.
“In addition to a multitude of skills, mature workers bring local knowledge, a strong work ethic and a flexibility towards scheduling to PEI tourism businesses.”
– Heather Tedford, Passport to Employment Facilitator
TIAPEI’s Passport to Employment Tourism Program is offered in multiple sessions on the Island during the winter and spring months with the first 2019 session starting on January 28th, and the following session is expected to be held in March.
Author: Brysan Cumming, TIAPEI HR Advisor
This project is funded in whole or in part by the Canada/Prince Edward Island Labour Market Development Agreements.