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By Dr Lindsay McMillan

A top-tier tech executive at Westpac Bank has warned that workers aged over 35 are at risk of facing redundancy if their organisations fail to adapt to changes from automation.

According to Dave Curran, CIO at Westpac Bank, current business structures are not preparing to re-skill workers for the future, putting those who have been in the workforce for longer at risk as being under-skilled as automation claims more jobs.

Automation would affect workers of all ages, but those over 35 may be resistant to change and face barriers to re-skilling.

Automation underlines the importance of relationships, and that there are a number of benefits to keeping on older staff in new capacities.

Long-time, loyal employees should be retained as much as possible; they know the business well and can be a real stabilising asset if an organisation restructures.

The first point of order is to identify who has what skills, but not in a malicious way. You may find some of your most valuable workers now, do not have the skills needed in the next five or ten years.

This is a really valuable pick-up to make sooner rather than later, and allows leaders to be conscious of weaknesses and gives them the opportunity to update employee skills and better prepare for the future.

The fact is, unpreparedness for these changes are widespread – leaders of businesses are not exempt and they should be open to the areas where they themselves might need a lesson or two.

More businesses should take a proactive approach to up-skilling employees rather than making redundancies.

I encourage businesses not to make the mistake of making workers redundant whilst recruiting at the same time, even if they are for different jobs that require different skills.

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