Workers over 55 represent close to a third of the labour force in Quebec |

Workers over 55 represent close to a third of the labour force in Quebec

Each year, they carry more weight in the labour force. In 2014, 31.2% of workers were aged 55 and over. The government would like to have this group remain employed for as long as possible.

It is the highest level of representation in the employed labour force since 1976. At a rate of 31.2%, there have never been more workers aged 55 and over, according to the Institut de la statistique du Québec (Statistical Institute of Quebec). Over the 2004-2014 period alone, older workers as a group increased by 5.6 percentage points. Given the ageing population and continued growth strategies, workers aged 55 and over have become an essential factor in the equation.

The Minister of Finance, Carlos Leitão, when presenting his budget in March with many tax measures, insisted on the need to keep these older workers employed, and with good reason. This group increasingly appears to be one of the solutions to the problem of the current and future labour shortage, and a way to keep high-value jobs in the labour market.

In this context, it is worth paying attention to work undertaken in recent years by the Comité consultatif pour les travailleuses et travailleurs âgés de 45 ans et plus (an advisory committee on workers aged 45 and over). This committee, which is part of the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (Commission of Labour Market Partners), considers possible ways to encourage an experienced workforce to remain employed. In a 2013 report, it lists a number of possibilities.

  • Valuing skills and experience more highly: This is an important factor if companies wish to retain experienced workers. This involves mentoring (pairing younger and older workers) and recognition of their experience through various types of benefits.
  • La gestion prévisionnelle de la main d’oeuvre (GPMO) (Workforce Management Planning): Keep in mind that it allows companies to plan for their future workforce needs, promote the transfer of skills and keep experienced workers employed by improving their quality of life at work (flexible time management, preparation for retirement, updated training, etc.).
  • Phased retirement: It is equally important to consider measures which promote phasing in retirement for older workers. Companies will then benefit from having more time to look for a candidate internally or externally and to ensure a transfer of skills.
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