More bust than boom for these older Australians

Baby boomers are redefining the workforce – and the ranks of the unemployed.

More bust than boom

Baby boomers are redefining the face of retirement – including the make-up of the workforce and the ranks of the unemployed.

Australians are increasingly working longer, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

In January 2018, Australians aged 65 and over had a workforce participation rate of 13 per cent (17 per cent for men and 10 per cent for women), an increase from eight per cent in 2006 (12 per cent for men and four per cent for women).

The report predicts the rate will continue to increase as Australians’ retirement intentions change.

It says that in 2004–05, just eight per cent of Australians aged 45 and over intended to work until age 70, compared with 20 per cent in 2016–17 – more than tripling in 12 years.

In 2016–17, the average intended retirement age was 65 (66 for men and 64 for women), with just under one in four (22 per cent) men aged 45 and over intending to work beyond age 70.

The increasing desire – or necessity – to work for longer has had an impact on the ranks of the unemployed with government data revealing that the largest single group of Australians on Newstart are those aged 55-plus.

Of the 720,000 Australians on Newstart, 173,196 are aged 55–64 and another 10,747 aged 65-plus, according to the Department of Social Services.

And that does not take into account underemployment.

The AIHW reports that among people aged 55 and over in November 2017, 6.1 per cent of employed people were underemployed; the unemployment rate was 3.5 per cent of the workforce in that age group.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison points to the Government’s record of jobs creation when quizzed about Newstart and unemployment, proudly declaring that Australia keeps producing work for most of those who seek it. On average about 200,000 jobs a year have been created in the past decade, but because of population growth, 240,000 new jobs are needed each year just to keep the unemployment rate steady.

And do older job-seekers get a fair hearing?

An Australian Human Rights Institute survey of members conducted in July–August last year in association with the Australian Human Rights Commission found that 30 per cent of managers took age into account when making decisions about recruitment and selection.

Almost a third (30 per cent) of respondents indicated their organisation had an age above which they were reluctant to recruit workers. The majority (68 per cent) of respondents indicated that there was an unwillingness to hire workers over the age of 50.

Only eight per cent of respondents reported that line managers in their organisation were given training on how to manage different generations, though 22 per cent were given training on unconscious bias.

EveryAGE Counts campaign director Marlene Krasovitsky says that addressing ageism – especially in the workforce – is an issue for all Australians.

She told YourLifeChoices: “Unfortunately older people face significant barriers when they are looking for work.

“Many recruiters and prospective employers carry outdated assumptions and stereotypes in their heads about what older workers can and can’t do.

“In an era where we are generally living longer, healthier lives, it’s time to shake off these dangerous, discriminatory and unfair prejudices and treat older job applicants on their merits, just like everyone else.”

Monash University’s Professor Katheen Riach says that age biases and age inequalities in workplaces is endemic – and growing – particularly in the current economic crisis where older people are viewed as increased competition for jobs.

Good luck with that job hunt.

Have you encountered ageism in the workplace or seeking a job?

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    COMMENTS

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    Realist
    26th Jul 2019
    10:38am
    Hi I am 70, fit, healthy, cognitively sound, huge skill set, etc..

    I went to Centrelink to see if I could enrol in an employment agency. I told them I had been refused help at the "agency next door to centrelink" due to my age.

    They arranged an appointment with another agency who agreed to accept me. I attended the appointment.

    What a farce - they gave me some tips on my "resume" and NOTHING else. I asked if I could look at their "Job Board" - where I found a job I was TOTALLY suited for.

    I was told "we cannot give persons who are NOT on "newstart" access to our jobs??

    Upon leaving they gave me another appointment - I asked "why?" "you are refusing me access to all jobs" ....

    My guess is they are PAID on "numbers" on their books - of course they will not confirm that.

    I left depressed and insulted.

    Mal
    Rosret
    26th Jul 2019
    11:42am
    Yes, Mal you are absolutely right and if they find you a job you might be required to give them your first weeks wage etc. That's how they make their money to be in business and a very profitable business it is. It does have some benefits for employers as a good agency will find them the best person for the job.

    I would be interested on the stats as to how many retirees use Newstart to boost their retirement income before fully retiring and are not really looking for work at all. That's the case with the people I know who have used Newstart. They were quite happy working as a husband and wife team and bringing in a comfortable boost to their savings.
    Farside
    26th Jul 2019
    4:25pm
    One of Howard's worst decisions was to do away with the CES and outsource to the Job Network. It has only helped agency parasites make fortunes without taking responsibility for getting people into jobs.
    Realist
    26th Jul 2019
    4:42pm
    It would seem you are correct "Farside" - it was humiliating to go to them. The sooner we seniors are "detached" from Centrelink the better. I for one EARNED my pension.
    Charlie
    26th Jul 2019
    11:12am
    Its a long haul to age 65 pension, especially if people have not been able to secure disability pension where disability was a reason for job loss.

    Even so the loss of super payments and super growth knocks a big hole in retirement plans.
    If there is no intention of returning to full time employment, super can be drawn at 55, but its a desperate move if there are no prospects of regular casual work around.

    Maybe if super is big enough and there are things that must be enjoyed before health declines, an early retirement is the way to go.
    sunnyOz
    26th Jul 2019
    12:02pm
    Charlie - have to agree about the DSP. I recently met a 64yo lady who has been on the DSP for nearly 20 years - due to 'anxiety'. And why? - because she became anxious and depressed after her divorce! I was gobsmacked!
    She is perfectly capable of working, has never worked (but does the occasional cash jobs), and lives in a govt house with her 2 sons - both of who are also on the DSP. One son has a partner, also non working.
    Yet now a days, you can have terminal cancer and be denied the DSP. I am sure the govt would practically double their budget surplus by re-assessing long term DSP recipients.
    Anonymous
    26th Jul 2019
    12:20pm
    ....ahhh yes the hidden "rort" that has been going on for years...I know a young lady who has been on a DSP since 20 years of age...now in 50's...flips burgers at the royal show every year but supposedly not able to hold down a job due to intellectual disability...if you spoke to her you would never know
    Thoughtful
    26th Jul 2019
    9:33pm
    SunnyOz I thought reading your post that you were talking about the same person I know but offspring do not match. Also, the one I know is living in her own home having used her situation to not only collect every last cent from Centrelink ( same reason - and nearly 20 years ) but also to totally fleece the X with child support. Consequently, he will be on OAP in retirement so everyone is a loser. Apparently they are "grandfathered" and after this many years out of the work force are considered unemployable. Agree - re-assessing should be more regular. Is anybody listening?????
    Fitza
    26th Jul 2019
    11:25am
    I was employed by the NT Govt (Dept of Territory Families - i.e. child protection) a month before turning 71 years of age. I was employed full time. I am still there and will be 74 in a few months time. I have nothing but praise for the HR Managers in Territory Families. I was selected on merit.
    Since being employed in Territory Families, I have had a few problems related to the ageing process and this has caused some issues with the job I do - but eventually, these were sorted out. For example, in recent years I self imposed a condition on my driving licence that says I should not drive between dusk and dawn. This caused a problem with my job where it requires me to work in an on call, after hours roster every couple of months......but we got around it and I was reasonably satisfied with the way it was done.
    I have to say though, that most Team Leaders and Managers and Directors do struggle getting their heads around my age and what that means in relation to a job description. However, I am able to stand up for myself and argue my point on the ageing process and how it interferes with some aspects of the job (such as driving after sunset).
    Most of the workers employed at my level (below Team Leader level) are half my age or younger and the majority are female (it's child protection work). The majority of these workers treat me with respect and in some cases, admiration (especially so for those workers from countries where aged parents are respected in their culture).
    So, all in all, I can't complain. A lot does depend on the HR Managers - and I am sure there is a lot of 'unofficial' discrimination against aged workers seeking work - but In Territory Families, this has not been the case. I can only praise them for the way I have been treated and given the chance to work full time.
    Rosret
    26th Jul 2019
    11:51am
    Pleased to hear it, Fitza.
    There is most definitely age discrimination with job applications. You don't need to put your age on the resume however it is pretty easy to figure it out.

    While the young are under paid even when required to do the same job it means employers will chose a young employee or an older one regardless of experience.

    Then the dynamic age group comes into play. The 30-45 age group are the power house. The ones with the energy, new ideas and personal presence. They are the most employable and most likely to receive promotion.

    Basically, it comes down to working hard at school, choosing a career that has future pathway. Save and build an asset portfolio of financial and educational wealth. Then if an industry folds or becomes redundant have the ability to side step onto another path.
    Anonymous
    26th Jul 2019
    12:23pm
    ..totally agree with all you said Roset...especially your last para. more emphasis needs to be put into making sure kids choose the right path, stay at school and learn good financial planning and plan for their future instead of just ambling through life..get to pension age..."oh goodness me I dont have any assets and the pension is not enough"...the government is not giving me enough!
    Anonymous
    26th Jul 2019
    12:36pm
    Yes Rosret, there is and has been an age discrimination. I went through a period where I was seeking employment and it was rare to get an interview. The reasons given for missing out on a position were along the lines of being overqualified for the job. Employers are quite good at dodging any suggestion that ageism is alive and thriving.
    Dazza
    26th Jul 2019
    2:15pm
    Good on the NT Gov. helping to keep you off the CL queue. A gig with the Public Service!!
    Might be a different story down at the local Coles Supermarket stacking shelves. "Over qualified"? you wouldn't get a look in. Unfortunately, there aren't enough Public Service jobs out there for old folks looking for a job.
    Nice one though Fitza, enjoy it while you can.

    26th Jul 2019
    12:32pm
    An interesting set of statistics which reminds me of the quote attributed to the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." The reason for people over retirement age continuing to work has not been shown and already respondents are suggesting it's all about money. I have a neighbour in his late70's who retired at 65 with a healthy super fund, tried social clubs and volunteering but was dissatisfied and went back to work. The mention of "underemployed" raises the obvious question of whether those working less than 38 hours pw want to work more hours. The ACTU bangs on about wanting part time workers made full time after 6 months of work because the part time workers make up about 20% of the workforce. This percentage has been constant for the past 25 years and may well encompass workers whose choice is to work part time.
    Not a Bludger
    26th Jul 2019
    1:20pm
    Who in Australia would put any store by anything that these self serving leftie human rights organisations report - they only report that which accords to their own extremely biases views.
    In this garbage report they are now trying to portray baby boomers as victims so that they can get another cohort under their remit.
    And, oh Lordy Lordy, they have 22% exhibiting so-called unconscious bias - Gimme a break.
    Worse, it is my taxpayer coin that pays these twerps.

    26th Jul 2019
    3:38pm
    what makes Australians so privileged >? In any other country you have to move with the jobs just as small businessmen and whitecollar people are doing...A few years ago dolebludgers were told that the dole would be stopped if they didn't go fruit picking and the unions represented them at the Hague justice courts so Centrelink lost.Get a job or become a trailer park slob .I see peope with limbs missing happily working ,I,m 83 and if someone could make me 73 I,d go on my hands and knees to Dubbo just for the joy of doing a days work

    26th Jul 2019
    3:38pm
    what makes Australians so privileged >? In any other country you have to move with the jobs just as small businessmen and whitecollar people are doing...A few years ago dolebludgers were told that the dole would be stopped if they didn't go fruit picking and the unions represented them at the Hague justice courts so Centrelink lost.Get a job or become a trailer park slob .I see peope with limbs missing happily working ,I,m 83 and if someone could make me 73 I,d go on my hands and knees to Dubbo just for the joy of doing a days work
    Anonymous
    26th Jul 2019
    4:07pm
    I live in beautiful Cairns and that's why I suppose there are as many 3rd generation dole bludgers as ther are tourists

    Here most of the businesses are run by Chinese and belief me they look with disdain at the average Ossy

    All the chess ,spelling ,IQ quizzes are won by Asians ,My Srilankan neighbour worked 2 jobs and drove one kid across Brisbane every Sat for maths extras and the girl on Sunday to piano lessons ,they are now both in top jobs

    when she arrived in OZ as a refugee she worked 18 hrs a day, studied nursing,put adeposit on an an old house ,did it up, Raised it up and let the underneath,then managed to borrow and buy another to rent out .Every 6 months people are allowed to put their big rubbish on the kerb ,she and her son would drive around pick up old mowers and washing machines and did them up for sale. ,she turned the lawn into a veg garden and kept chooks, she is now head of a hospital and lives in an 5 bedroomed house on the Brisbane river, ,She,ll do anything for the needy but terms all Ozzies as ""DimSims"
    Chinas control area has doubled in less than 10 years even In Oz they own ports,farms and even an airport
    We are deemed not to matter in their psyche,,,All the best Avos are going to China and Oz beef is sold for 400 dollars a kilo in Shanghai,,,Did you know that there are more Rolls Royces in India than the UK,that more Indians speak English than the Uk itself and that the middle class of India is greater than the population of the US
    Better get the work ethic back quickly cos they are coming for us
    Anonymous
    26th Jul 2019
    4:07pm
    I live in beautiful Cairns and that's why I suppose there are as many 3rd generation dole bludgers as ther are tourists

    Here most of the businesses are run by Chinese and belief me they look with disdain at the average Ossy

    All the chess ,spelling ,IQ quizzes are won by Asians ,My Srilankan neighbour worked 2 jobs and drove one kid across Brisbane every Sat for maths extras and the girl on Sunday to piano lessons ,they are now both in top jobs

    when she arrived in OZ as a refugee she worked 18 hrs a day, studied nursing,put adeposit on an an old house ,did it up, Raised it up and let the underneath,then managed to borrow and buy another to rent out .Every 6 months people are allowed to put their big rubbish on the kerb ,she and her son would drive around pick up old mowers and washing machines and did them up for sale. ,she turned the lawn into a veg garden and kept chooks, she is now head of a hospital and lives in an 5 bedroomed house on the Brisbane river, ,She,ll do anything for the needy but terms all Ozzies as ""DimSims"
    Chinas control area has doubled in less than 10 years even In Oz they own ports,farms and even an airport
    We are deemed not to matter in their psyche,,,All the best Avos are going to China and Oz beef is sold for 400 dollars a kilo in Shanghai,,,Did you know that there are more Rolls Royces in India than the UK,that more Indians speak English than the Uk itself and that the middle class of India is greater than the population of the US
    Better get the work ethic back quickly cos they are coming for us
    Baby Huey
    26th Jul 2019
    4:07pm
    After a constructive default without notice by the corrupt NAB bank which destroyed our business and most of our super I tried to find work at 69 years. I, like the Realist, was fit, healthy, cognitivy sound, both trade and tertiary educated, and a huge skill set. Initally, I found some contract work in the QLD coal mines until the bottom dropped out.

    After some 200 resumes and only a few unsuccessful interviews I sought help from Centerlink. My experience was exactly the same as the Realist. I was almost thrown out of the Centerlink office for daring to ask a officer if they were trained, comptent, authorised after the officer refused to answer a reasonable question.

    The Social Security Act has specific clauses which age discriminates against over 65s not receiving a Centerlink defined benefit but who are unemployed and seeking work. The age discrimination Act has a schedule that is several pages long of exemptions. Centerlink has an exemption.

    After further unsuccessful attempts trying to find work I decided to enroll in a MBA on HECS which I will complete in the first half of next year. I will once again seek work. If not, there are other graduate courses I would like do again on HECS.

    If I cannot find work and once again be a productive taxpaying citizen I will be unable to achieve the threshold where payback of HECS commences.

    By that time our super will be drawn down to the point where we will be eligible for the pension.

    So to all those managers and HR people who have jobs and have a mindset of age discrimation thank you as you will paying the pension and my HECS through higher taxes.

    To the managers
    Farside
    26th Jul 2019
    7:54pm
    Did you ever think to yourself if the tables were turned would you employ the Centrelink person before you?

    26th Jul 2019
    4:12pm
    Under the Lieberal Nasty Party vermin in government, many of retirement age have no choice but to keep working.
    FrankC
    28th Jul 2019
    12:31pm
    Many years ago, when I was 56, I applied for a position in the Histology department of Geelong hospital. I had been in this section of pathology for 28 years, 40 years overall in pathology laboratories in different countries and states in Oz , and fitted all the requirements completely, with all those years of experience. One can't help but wonder when they read my age on the Resume, whether they bothered to read any more. I never received a reply until I asked for one, and as to whether they had received my Resume. They just said the position had been filled. Perhaps If I had said I was 36 I would have got a look in, after all, I was employed in NZ at 33, and then in Tassie at 35, in their pathology labs.
    Farside
    29th Jul 2019
    8:59am
    I understand where you are coming from but there could be many reasons why you are not short-listed for interview before playing the ageism card. For instance you are unlikely to be alone with having sufficient qualifications and experience for the role. There could be any number of reasons why all else being equal that other applicants are preferred for shortlisting. Unfortunately it can be hard to make the "yes" pile and selected for interview, especially when there can be lots of applicants. The role may simply be an advertised vacancy however there is an incumbent. The role could be a promotion opportunity for an existing employee or more suited to someone a decade your junior for succession planning.
    FrankC
    28th Jul 2019
    12:31pm
    Many years ago, when I was 56, I applied for a position in the Histology department of Geelong hospital. I had been in this section of pathology for 28 years, 40 years overall in pathology laboratories in different countries and states in Oz , and fitted all the requirements completely, with all those years of experience. One can't help but wonder when they read my age on the Resume, whether they bothered to read any more. I never received a reply until I asked for one, and as to whether they had received my Resume. They just said the position had been filled. Perhaps If I had said I was 36 I would have got a look in, after all, I was employed in NZ at 33, and then in Tassie at 35, in their pathology labs.


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