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Resource to boost seniors’ workforce participation

Michael Schneider, Bunnings; Michael O’Neill, National Seniors; and Treasurer  Joe Hockey

Michael Schneider, Bunnings; Michael O’Neill, National Seniors; and Treasurer Joe Hockey

A new toolkit will support businesses seeking to employ older workers by providing a step-by-step guide for recruiting and retaining seniors in their workplaces.

The Age Management Toolkit, produced by National Seniors, was launched late last week by Treasurer Joe Hockey, who said the resource would help change the mindset of employers and facilitate a conversation about more flexible workplaces.

The Treasurer praised Bunnings, which hosted the toolkit launch, for having a quarter of its workforce over the age of 50. This embrace of a diverse workforce sent a message to other employers that if businesses removed age discrimination they could be profitable and embraced by the community, Mr Hockey said.

National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said people were living longer, healthier lives and often choosing to remain in meaningful employment beyond traditional retirement age.

“Astute employers already know that older workers can bring vital experience and skills to their business, enhance their reputation and boost their bottom line,” said Mr O’Neill.

Bunnings store operations director Michael Schneider said that employing older workers was a deliberate strategy which helped all employees benefit from the “wisdom and character that life experience brings.”

The launch of the toolkit comes ahead of the anticipated release of the fourth Intergenerational Report.

According to Australian Human Rights Commission research a 5 per cent increase in paid employment of people aged 55-plus would add $48 billion per year to the economy.

Long-term unemployment rates among the over-50s are consistently higher than other age groups. While gradually improving, workforce participation rates among Australians aged 55 and over are still lower than in countries like New Zealand and Sweden, according to National Seniors.

The Age Management Toolkit was authored by Dr Ruth Williams of the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre.

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