Nov 11, 2021

Change needed to break the ageism forcing over-55s to languish without work

Change needed to break the ageism forcing over-55s to languish without work

Australia’s campaign to end ageism, EveryAGE Counts, is calling for urgent change in the wake of new research that has found that older Australians are massively overrepresented in Australia’s long-term unemployment crisis.

new report published today by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has found government policies have shifted older workers onto unemployment payments, especially those over 65 who previously received the age pension.

Job opportunities opening up post lockdown are mostly being filled by young people, leaving 72,000 people aged 55 years at the end of the queue. Women are particularly affected, with 55 per cent of those who have been on unemployment payments for more than five years being older women.

EveryAGE Counts Campaign Director, Marlene Krasovitsky, said it was vital to recognise the role ageism was playing in the crisis.

“It is ageism that makes us fail to recognise this as a national crisis,” Ms Krasovitsky said.

“Most older Australians are living longer, healthier lives and they want, or need, to work longer. So what’s holding them back? Ageism.

“There’s a very real prejudice that tells us that older people really are just unemployable, they’ve had their turn, and should just wait for the pension.

“If we want to maintain funding for essential services and infrastructure we need to lift the labour force participation rates of older people who want or need to work. That means we have to address ageism at its root – the stereotypes, assumptions, and discrimination that currently lock older people out of work.

“We can’t keep turning a blind eye to this crisis, we need to raise awareness and to increase incentives for employers to hire older people.

“We need a sustained public and workplace education campaign to challenge the myths and negative attitudes and assumptions about older people in the workforce.

“We should be making sure people understand the channels through which they can speak up when they experience age-based discrimination.

And we should encourage organisations to develop and implement age inclusive approaches. We also know that multigenerational workforces are good for business and raise productivity.

A recent nationwide poll, conducted by The RedBridge Group and commissioned by EveryAGE Counts, to help understand the gap between the widespread prevalence of ageism in Australian society, found nearly half of all Australians over-50 experienced ageism in the past year, but only one in five of them took any action in response.

“The only way we can end it is to bring it out of the shadows,” said Ms Krasovitsky.

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  1. My husband has worked for a Federal Govt. Agency for nearly 20 years. He is highly skilled and competent having worked in the same industry for 46 years. He is now 68 and wants to continue working. He had his insurance taken away at 65. Younger staff member keep asking him why he is still working? Why doesn’t he just retire. The management disregards him and he is constantly sidelined even though they will often come to him to get advice or information. It is disgusting and and immoral. But to complain is to be offered a redundancy. We can’t afford $600 an hour for legal assistance. No one cares.

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