Everybody into the labour pool

JASON KIRBY March 26 2007

Everybody into the labour pool

JASON KIRBY March 26 2007

Everybody into the labour pool

BY JASON KIRBY • At 63, David Dodge is no spring chicken. Yet the Bank of Canada governor is wise beyond his years when it comes to Canada’s outdated notion of mandatory retirement. Too many companies boot out their best and brightest even though there’s an acute shortage of young and willing workers to pick up the slack. “We have to recognize that changing demographics mean there will be fewer and fewer young people in the labour pool,” he said last week. “We must therefore learn to concentrate on making the most of our experienced and trained workers.”

For Sherry Baker, a 67-year-old retired consultant from Langley, B.C., that all adds up to a business opportunity. Bored with her own golden years, she and two partners launched www.55pluspros.ca, an online recruitment service to put Canadian retirees in touch with prospective employers.

“There are lots of people who thought they had amassed enough money to retire on, but when they start planning they find they don’t

have enough,” says Baker. The site is targeted at older workers looking for skilled jobs and trades. It will also cater to those older workers whose Internet skills aren’t up to snuff, allowing them to submit resumés on paper which will then be digitized.

Baker says Canada’s changing demographics are forcing employers to rethink their hiring habits. “Some of the companies have to be persuaded that this is an option for them,” she says. Those on the hunt for only full-time employees should consider two part-time seniors instead. The cost of benefits packages are lower, and ready-trained seniors come with a terrific work ethic.

Baker’s site only went live in December, and for the time being is focused on British Columbians. But after receiving calls from employers from across the country in search of workers, including at least one of the big banks in Toronto, she plans to quickly expand the service nationwide.

That’s good for Dodge. He just began the last year of his term at the central bank. And he’s made it abundantly clear he’s in no rush to be put out to pasture. M