They have experience, they already speak French, they are already integrated into Quebec society and they are scattered throughout the territory. They could therefore fill some of the glaring need for manpower. Who? Older workers and “young” retirees.
L es budgets will present next week Ottawa and Quebec must include measures to encourage experienced and older workers to stay on the labor market and to allow those who wish to reconcile work and retirement.
In 2003, the PQ government developed a strategy for workers aged 45 and over to prepare the labor market for the effects of population decline.
Adjustments have been made, tax credits have been introduced over the years, but some work remains to be done. The good performance of the economy has added additional pressure.
Employers, unions, chambers of commerce and seniors’ associations have come up with proposals to respond to this issue and to accelerate a change in attitudes and practices for both the late career and the employer.
In the not-too-distant past, companies pushed older workers to the exit. Outside the “dead wood”, the has-been, and those who weigh heavily on the payroll because they are at the top of the ladder.
At the time of hiring, some bosses even rejected the CVs of 36-year-old candidates because they were too old. Imagine those people over 55, over 60 years old.
The demographic decline and the labor shortages it causes are changing the game and looking at experienced workers. Outside, ageism.
The arrival of immigrants can not meet all needs. The succession is insufficient. The working-age population – the 15 to 64 – has been declining since 2014 and it will be necessary to wait until 2031 to see a recovery.
The “old” are therefore gaining value, gaining attractiveness. At least in certain areas of activity.
Today, employers hope to keep their older employees at work as long as possible, while others rely on the few hours or days that retirees are ready to fill their staffing needs.
The presence of people over 60 in the labor market could, however, be greater.
Employment rates for workers aged 60 to 65 and 65 to 69 are lower in Quebec than in Ontario and lower than the Canadian average. If Quebec reached the same rates as its neighbor, 66,000 more workers could end up on the labor market.
This is the estimate provided by Luc Godbout, professor in the Department of Taxation at the School of Management of the University of Sherbrooke, in a brief presented to the Department of Finance as part of its pre-budget consultations.
But for this to happen, governments in both Ottawa and Quebec City are being urged to take tax measures, change pension or annuity rules to support full-time part-time.
Delaying retirement or combining retirement and employment must be paid. To occupy one’s time is not enough.
If Jules, 66, for example, loses his guaranteed income supplement because he occupies a grocery clerk’s position two days a week, he will probably decide to stay at home, tinker or volunteer.
But it’s not just taxation and pension plans to adjust.
It is also not enough for employers to be flexible in the organization of work and to allow a lighter schedule.
Continuing education for older workers is also a prerequisite if governments and employers want them to stay in the office or plant longer.
It is foolish and optimistic to think that older workers can all stay at work and adapt easily to technological change and new ways of producing goods and services.
For this to happen, many need training.
In a brief to the Minister of Finance, the Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce recalls the low literacy and numeracy rate of many workers.
According to 2012 data, 65% of the Quebec population aged 45 to 65 do not reach Level 3 literacy. The OECD considers this level to be a minimum threshold for working in a developed economy.
Considering that 42% of 25- to 44-year-olds also do not reach level 3, governments, employers and educational institutions have a lot of work to do to enhance the skills of everyone.
Otherwise, the “paying” jobs that Prime Minister Legault promises are not for them.
If a real culture of continuing education is established in Quebec, young and old, workers at the beginning and end of their career, will be able to benefit from it.