Top Menu

Anti-discrimination laws not the ageism solution



Pictured: John Brogden, CEO Financial Services Council 

On Monday this week, the Financial Services Council released research showing older workers are being discriminated against in the workforce at a time when they are finding it hard to build the superannuation they need for retirement. 

Conducted by Westfield Wright for the Financial Services Council, the study found almost three in 10 (28 per cent) older workers had experienced discrimination – being made redundant before others being the most frequently cited example. Other forms included lack of training and development opportunities, verbal abuse and inflexibility towards health and physical needs. 

Discrimination was most acute among mid-managers earning the average Australian wage of $70,000 a year. 

While attitudes among employers varied, the study found cost, particularly in the current economic environment, and workplace culture were behind decisions to recruit younger staff. 

This was a key concern among older workers who were trying to save as much superannuation as they could before they retired. Close to 50 per cent of over 50-year-olds said they were dissatisfied with the amount they had put aside for their retirement, with more than half of those feeling very concerned. 

John Brogden, CEO of the Financial Services Council, said attitudes towards older workers needed to change because Australia was facing an ageing population crisis. 

“At current trends, by 2050 there will only be 2.7 working Australians for every citizen over 65. Without action, this will have serious implications for the quality of life of every Australian,” Mr Brogden said. 

“We need to end the concept of full time work followed by full time retirement. Australians remaining in the workforce for longer periods will stretch retirement incomes by supplementing superannuation through part-time work as well as reduce our nation’s skills shortage. 

“However the solution is not a new raft of anti-discrimination laws. Instead, the focus should be on more flexible work practices and finding other paths of employment such as consulting or mentoring to encourage further workforce participation by older workers. 

“This study found those companies that did make the effort to engage and retain older workers were able to ease their skills shortages and found older employees to be ‘easier to manage’ and a ‘safe pair of hands’. 

“Older workers also need to be flexible and recognise they cannot have it all – the flexible work hours and slower paced job on the same salary as they earned before is unrealistic.”

Click here to see a copy of the report.

Click here to see a related article about discrimination against older workers and a response from Age Discrimination Commissioner, the Hon Susan Ryan AO.



, , , , , , ,

0 Responses to Anti-discrimination laws not the ageism solution

  1. Ivan D Watters July 8, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Mr Brogden,
    I wish to bring to your notice a practice which I believe discriminates against pensioners and low income earners. This relates to the practice of the two large supermarkets increasing the cost per litre of fuel and then offering discounts of say up to 20 cents per litre when a purchase of groceries to the value of $100-00 is made. There is no way that this group of pensioners etc have the ability to expend the required amount to achieve the petrol discount first because of need and secondly because of disposable funds. In fact we all pay the extra cost of groceries but few achieve the supposed benefit.
    I believe this discriminates against the older and less fortunate in the community.

  2. Ivan D Watters July 8, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Mr Brogden,
    I wish to bring to your notice a practice which I believe discriminates against pensioners and low income earners. This relates to the practice of the two large supermarkets increasing the cost per litre of fuel and then offering discounts of say up to 20 cents per litre when a purchase of groceries to the value of $100-00 is made. There is no way that this group of pensioners etc have the ability to expend the required amount to achieve the petrol discount first because of need and secondly because of disposable funds. In fact we all pay the extra cost of groceries but few achieve the supposed benefit.
    I believe this discriminates against the older and less fortunate in the community.

Leave a Reply