Five Things Mature Women Want

Here is a blog post found from our friends at SageCo, the original post can be found here

Five Things Mature Women Want

It’s International Women’s Day on Friday. And we particularly want to raise a toast to mature women. In our experience, Diversity Council Australia bears this out, mature women are a group who are most likely to be undervalued, underemployed, discouraged and departed when it comes to workplaces.

Some years ago, I was working on a major mature workers retention project within the public sector. The project manager – let’s call her Yvonne – was an energetic and insightful senior woman in her early 60s. She had never quite cracked the ‘executive’ level of the public service despite numerous attempts, but she was obviously admired and respected. With surprisingly good humour, Yvonne shared a story of her early working days, when women weren’t invited to the superannuation information sessions. She remembers asking if she should be attending, but was told that given she would be getting married and having a family, she didn’t need to worry about it! Despite the discouragement, she pursued superannuation advice; she missed out on being part of a defined benefits scheme by a matter of weeks. Over the last ten years, she’s watched her male colleagues retire with comparatively lucrative superannuation, indexed for life.

Yvonne loved working, and despite what might look like a really successful career, she found that in her early 60s, she wasn’t considered for new opportunities being “over-qualified”. She’s now departed the workplace and hopes to consult to continue participating in the workforce.

There are tens of thousands of stories like this one.

What do mature women really want? What can employers give them?

Identity: Mature women want to be valued and recognised for their work and non-work roles. The much held assumption of retirement or full-time elder / child care for this co-hort is limiting. Providing support for making decisions about their own future – which could equally include starting a new career or returning to work or developing their role, is something all employers should consider.

Money: Mature women want financial security. Many women have been disadvantaged with retirement savings. Tailored, focussed financial advice for mature women is imperative.

Career: Women aged 55+ form the fastest growing labour pool. Designing roles that particularly attract mature women will stand any employer in good stead in a market where skills shortage is a major challenge. Providing career coaching and development opportunities for mature women will empower them to challenge the assumption of retirement or underemployment.

Health: Mature women spend a lot of time caring for others – often to the detriment of their own health. What programs can employers put in place to particularly support healthy ageing for women?

Relationships: Mature women spend a lot of time caring for others – but who is caring for them? Mature women want happy, healthy relationships. Employers who recognise and acknowledge the relationship demands that mature women juggle and structure work demands accordingly will benefit.

One might argue that these five things are relevant to men and women; and you’re right, they are. But there are points of emphasis in each area that are particular to mature women. Providing a structured framework for women to have conversations and take action will reap benefits. Some organisations we work with have used Envisage as a means of providing this framework to mature women. Some are holding International Women’s Day seminars specifically for mature women; they were oversubscribed in a matter of days!

You can road test the Envisage half day seminar on Thursday 21 March in Sydney. You may like to invite some mature women in your organisation as an International Women’s Day gesture?

We have the opportunity to transform undervalued to valued, underemployed to richly employed, discouraged to empowered and departed to recruited and retained.

More information and links:

Envisage Open seminar. Thursday 21 March 9 am – 1 pm, Sydney. Click Here to Register now.
Free Envisage resources to support identity, money, career, health and relationships.
Diversity Council Australia news.

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