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Tuesday, 20 January  2009  Ageing Workers

With an ageing population, it's important that Australian businesses make the most of older workers - otherwise there could be a skills shortage.

MARK BANNERMAN: A turn of the key, a few quick adjustments, and Denis Shadlow is on the road again.
A sales rep with nearly four decades' experience, he could, like many of his colleagues, have given way to a younger man, but one thing sustains him.

DENIS SHADLOW, SALES REPRESENTATIVE: I'm a very passionate man. I just love the people I talk to, and I treat them as family. I just love the job.

MARK BANNERMAN: A thousand kilometres north, on the Gold Coast, another rep from the same company, 69-year-old Tom Higgins, is also clocking up kilometres.

TOM HIGGINS, SALES REPRESENTATIVE: I love the challenge of it. There's always something new happening in medicine, and I can convey the good news, hopefully, to as many GPs as I can.

MARK BANNERMAN: Today, Tom Higgins and Dennis Shadlow will meet doctors and chemists. Their approach is friendly, but it is never pushy.

TOM HIGGINS: I think I bring a lot of experience. Hackneyed words maybe… enthusiasm. A lot of empathy with my doctors.

MARK BANNERMAN: What do you think you now bring to the job that perhaps you didn't bring 15 years ago?


MARK BANNERMAN: Is that right?

DENIS SHADLOW: Absolutely. I used to be so gung-ho, Mark, I have got to tell you. When I was a younger representative, a babe in the wilderness, I just wanted to get out there and show the world just how I could sell.

MARK BANNERMAN: Denis Shadlow might be confident but he isn't cocky. He knows he's been given this extended lease on his working life thanks only to the foresight of the people who run his company, Aspen Pharmacare.

GREG LAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ASPEN PHARMACARE: It's a commercial decision. We take these guys on because of the fact they're actually producing. Given a choice between hiring someone with 30 years' experience and someone with no experience, I think that's a no-brainer.

MARK BANNERMAN: Right now it's clear employers are free to pick and choose the age of the workers they want, but will it always be that way? Well, maybe not. Already, experts are predicting that as the population ages, there's going to be a skills shortage.
Here's a figure that no employer can ignore. This year, 170,000 people will enter the work force from high school, university and other sources. In just over a decade, due to the ageing of the population, the number of new workers coming into the work force will fall to just 12,500 on average each year. In other words, mature workers must be retained.

And Tom Higgins? Well, just try and tell him someone younger could do the job better.

TOM HIGGINS: My boss in Sydney said "We'll review when you're either in your mid 70s or 80 or whatever". but I think he jokingly thinks I'll go till I'm about 90.

MARK BANNERMAN: It's strange to say it but Denis Shadlow and other mature workers like him might very well be the way of the future.

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English Bites - Aging Workers
story notes

 on the road
Here on the road means being in a car travelling somewhere.

 sales rep
Sales rep is short for sales representative. A sales representative is somebody employed by a company to visit customers and sell their product.

Colleagues are workmates - people you work with.

Given is the past participle of the irregular verb give. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: give

To sustain someone means to help them to keep going, or to maintain them.

Passionate means having very strong emotions.

 clocking up
reaching a total

Enthusiasm is a feeling of excitement and interest.
Example: His enthusiasm is infectious.
The verb is to enthuse or to express excitement or interest.
Example: She enthused about his abilities.
The adjective is enthusiastic. If you’re enthusiastic, you’re excited about something.
Example: I feeling enthusiastic about learning English.

Empathy is the ability to share others’ feelings by imagining how they feel.
Example: He is unable to feel emapathy toward criminals.
The adjective is empathetic.
Example: Tom is empahtetic.

Calmness is the quality of being calm, or not excited and agitated.

Gung-ho means very enthusiastic about something. Denis uses the term ‘gung-ho’ to mean that he was probably too enthusiastic about his job.

To be confident means to be certain of your abilities.

To be cocky means to be over confident in a way that is unpleasant or rude.

Given is the past participle of the irregular verb give. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: give

Something that is an obvious choice or doesn't need much intelligence to work out is called a no-brainer.

What's the exception to the rule that words ending with 'e' drop the 'e' when 'ing' is added?

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