Ageist labour market: report

National Seniors is calling on governments take the lead in changing ageist labour market attitudes following a new report which reveals high levels of real and perceived age-discrimination in the Australian labour market.

National Seniors is calling on governments to lead the charge in stamping out ageist labour market attitudes by dismantling age limits within its own ranks following a new report which reveals 13 per cent of Australians have experienced age-attributed exclusion in the workplace.

The National Seniors report, Age Discrimination in the Labour Market: Experiences and Perceptions of Mature Age Australians, analysed data from a 2012 survey of over 3000 people aged 45 to 74.

It further found 36 per cent of job seekers have been excluded during the job search process because of their age and 16 per cent of people in the labour market have been directly told they are too old. 

The report also found that 67 per cent of workers thought age discrimination was a problem in the workplace and five-in-six job seekers agreed it was a problem during the job search process. 

National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said the results showed efforts to raise Australia’s mature age workforce participation rates run counter to a tide of discrimination both perceived and real.

“Governments can lead in crushing out-dated attitudes by dismantling their own age limits across workers compensation, redundancy payments, superannuation and income protection,” he said. 

Other report findings

Elsewhere in the findings 31 per cent of retired people said being considered too old by employers was an important reason for them being retired.

Insulting jokes or comments, feeling they were being forced out, and being paid less than colleagues in similar roles were the most common forms of age-attributed exclusion in the workplace, according to the report.

The result showed the most common reason for job search exclusion was applicants were unsuccessful in obtaining a position even though they were qualified.

The results also highlighted that age discrimination was a society-wide issue as people in the labour market were most likely to be told they were too old for a job by a family member or friend. 

Age discrimination is most likely experienced and perceived by people who are ill, injured or living with a disability, on a low income, those not employed or not retired, the very long-term unemployed, and those aged 55 years and older, and it is more common for those in physically demanding manual occupations and industries, the report found.

Doors closed for older workers

Mr O’Neill said doors to training, promotion and even a second interview start closing once Australians reached a matured age.

“Workplace age discrimination is insipid, very difficult to prove and quietly undermining efforts to increase Australia’s mature-age participation rates,” he said.

“Losing your job at midlife and then being dismissed over and again as having little more to offer in the search for another is emotionally devastating,” he said.

“With 15 to 20 years taken off their savings accumulation phase these older Australians will eventually find themselves consigned to living a hand-to-mouth retirement”.

The report was authored Dr Tim Adair, Dr Jeromey Temple, Lea Ortega and Dr Ruth Williams of the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre.

Go to their website to view or download the report or click here:Age Discrimination in the Labour Market: Experiences and Perceptions of Mature Age Australians.

Tags: age-discrimination, labour-market, michael-oneill, national-seniors, productive-ageing-centre,

2 thoughts on “Ageist labour market: report

  1. At a time where we are encouraged to utilise mature people for their expertise and life expereinces we still dismiss their existence

  2. AT THE AGE OF 62 I APPEAR TO BE UNEMPLOYABLE IN SPITE OF HAVING TERTIARY QUALIFICATIONS IN CHEMISTRY, MANAGEMENT AND ADULT EDUCATION. THE INFLUENCE OF THE CORPORATE WORLD HAS MADE ANYBODY OVER 40 YEARS OLD EXCLUDED FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE ECONOMY. GOVERNMENT DOESNT HELP SINCE IT APPEARS TO HAVE NO POLICY ON WHAT TO DO WITH AN AGING POPULATION OF BABY BOOMERS. WE SEE AUSTRALIA ROLLING INTO A DEPRESSION. RELIANCE ON MINING HAS DUG US INTO A HOLE WHICH WE CAN’T GET OUT OF UNDER PRESENT POLICIES. WE NEED TO USE THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS OF ALL AUSTRALIAN IF WE ARE TO HAVE A WORTHWHILE FUTURE. AGEISM IS THE LAST GREAT ISM AND IT NEEDS TO BE MOVED INTO HISTORY ALONG WITH OTHER ATTITUDES OF THE INDUSTRIAL AGE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *