Age discrimination to cost budget $6 billion per year

Discrimination against older workers will cause the pension bill to rise $6 billion per year.

The high cost of age discrimination

According to the latest research from the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), discrimination against older workers will cause the pension bill to rise $6 billion per year, within three years.

This rise would see the Federal Government’s annual pension bill rise from a current $45 billion to a little over $51 billion per year by 2020 unless efforts are made or are successful in gaining the employment of older workers, particularly in regional communities.

"We hear that there are a lot of people who would like to work, who would love to stay in the workforce either part-time or full-time even though they're in their late 50s, 60s and even into their 70s," said RAI chief executive Jack Archer.

"But we're not doing a very good job of giving them the training, giving them the incentives around the pension, and working with employers to stop the discrimination against employing older workers."

The report focuses on older Australians by region and suggests a variety of approaches to return older Australians to work.

"For regions with low participation rates like the Bass Coast in Victoria or the Lockyer Valley in Queensland, the focus will be to increase workforce engagement in general," the report stated.

"For those with high participation rates but also a high incidence of part-time employment like Augusta-Margaret River WA and Busselton WA, the policy focus will need to be more targeted towards addressing underemployment."

Wagga Wagga man Peter Sweeney, who is 66-year-old, is one of many older Australians giving up on the job hunt after being turned down for more than 150 jobs.

"People have told me that they don't like putting older people on because they're too set in their ways," said Mr Sweeney.

"Their skill levels are out of date, they can't take instructions from younger people and they're generally too tired.

"They want young people. They want people they can socialise with, whereas the oldies are interested in different things.”

What do you think? How can we change the current culture of discrimination against older workers? Have you been discriminated against for your age when applying for a job? What would you do if you were in charge?

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    curaeus
    17th Oct 2017
    10:28am
    Very simple to stop age discrimination in its tracks. Make prospective employers bear the legal onus of proving they have not age discriminated rather than the current impossible situation of the alleged "discriminatee" having to prove they have! If an employer has nothing to hide and if it has passed over a senior job applicant for valid non discriminatory reasons, they should have no concerns about this shift in the burden of proof. And then massive fines for those found to have age discriminated. No point if the government requiring citizens to work longer if nobody will employ them!
    MICK
    17th Oct 2017
    10:33am
    Age discrimination is alive and well. Whilst governments talk all the BS about 'laws' they never act. It is simply talk and expect nothing to change until older Australians come after the businesses concerned.
    If we all refused to shop at specific businesses they would wake up immediately their sales started to slump. That is the way forward. Hit them where it hurts: the bank account.
    Sadly we are all creatures of habit and older Australians do not do what is necessary to fix rampant exism. So it continues unabated.
    Anonymous
    17th Oct 2017
    1:49pm
    I agree MICK and all the laws in the land won't change that. Retrain us, give us university degrees, do anything you can think of but unless you can let us drink from the fountain of youth, employers are going to go for the younger person. No matter how you try and hide the age, a simple check of work history will give the game away. Try and disguise the work history and the interview will show up the real age bracket. I have been told that I am not qualified for the job, overqualified for the job, the perfect person for the job but there is someone with more experience and a litany of other crap. You can't take this to the anti-discrimination mob because employers are too cunning.
    Charlie
    17th Oct 2017
    11:18am
    Age discrimination causes cancer
    Tzuki
    17th Oct 2017
    12:37pm
    It causes a lot more than that!
    Charlie
    17th Oct 2017
    11:40am
    There is probably a lot of work suitable for age pensioners who can no longer work full time, but nobody seems to offer half days anymore.
    Probably the unions think that undermines full time jobs.

    Such work would have to specify, over 50 disability or age pension. Students, or the unemployment benefits people who don't want to declare their income, would snap up those jobs real quick.
    Even the agencies that help people on disability pension find work, are bound by legislation to terminate any agreements when clients reach the age of 65.
    Rae
    17th Oct 2017
    12:05pm
    I wouldn't worry about unions Charlie. They have no power now so you can't keep blaming them.

    Blame the business owners. They have control now.

    There are half day shifts available if you go looking for them.

    The 65 is a problem with work insurance and work cover. Both should be sorted out by Fair Work Commission but it seems only bent on lowering wages and casualising the workplaces.
    Rosret
    17th Oct 2017
    12:21pm
    "Even the agencies that help people on disability pension find work, are bound by legislation to terminate any agreements when clients reach the age of 65."
    I had no idea Charlie. In which case how can they raise the pension age and legislate termination agreements at 65?
    I guess what they are really saying is that they want people to self fund their own retirement.
    Wstaton
    17th Oct 2017
    11:50am
    It is sad that age is taken into account when assessing someones worth to do a job. True there are some jobs especially those that require strength that people as they get older are not able to do for extended periods of time.

    I am a website designer and have several business customers who are delighted with my work in not only design but my ability to manage their google adwords marketing. . Unfortunately I had a couple of customers who fell for the mantra from other (younger) designer businesses that I was too old to get the sort of visitors to their websites.
    My advice to those customers fell on deaf ears as only being because I was protecting my business.

    One I left for a year and then the customer came back and said that his budget for google advertising had blown out from $1000 month to $1700 month yet had not seen any appreciable growth in business. Would I have a look. What I found is that for this $1700 a month he was actually getting fewer visitors to his site from this advertising,costing $1700 than he was a year ago costing only $1000. He asked me if I would take over again. I said no. Why? Because what cheesed me off the most was that this business owner was 66 and would be considered a senior like me. I am 76 and sill going strong with new customers.

    I am fortunate as I run my own business and there is just me. I can find new customers. Unfortunately most older people are dependent on employers who have an ingrained bias towards older people. In a lot of circumstances it is because those employing are younger people. What really cheeses one off though, is a great many employers choosing people are older people themselves and have this bias.
    Rosret
    17th Oct 2017
    12:15pm
    Good for you! I honestly fail to see how age has anything to do with design. Once again age is experience and you would know full well how to market a product successfully.
    I am noticing how badly some of the news articles are being presented in recent years and I just think to myself - they must be new at the game - and then they wonder why no one is buying their product. However being young they don't acknowledge its them they just blame it on online media.
    LiveItUp
    17th Oct 2017
    12:05pm
    I love age discrimination. I now get offerred senior discounts without even asking for them and no one asks for proof.
    Rosret
    17th Oct 2017
    12:09pm
    Really? I have never found that. I just find they cash my cheques a lot faster in case I can't pay!
    LiveItUp
    18th Oct 2017
    6:14pm
    Cheques? I can't rememner even using them now. They are a real pain now as you have to find a bank to get rid of them. Electronic banking is so much better.
    Rosret
    17th Oct 2017
    12:07pm
    "Their skill levels are out of date, they can't take instructions from younger people and they're generally too tired.
    I will accept the last comment but not the other two. The skill level often outmatches the young by 40 years to 15 years. They may find it hard to take instructions from younger people because they usually know more and can see the young sprout heading for disaster. More often than not its the young employer that won't take heed from the senior older and wiser boss.
    Having said that, there is a time when its time to let go of the reigns and let our children take responsibility for the growth of our nation.
    We may live longer but I am tired and full of arthritis. Even when I had to start working through volumes of pages I would have a little cry to myself as it hurt so much. Who would have thought that would be the case when I was 25.
    KSS
    17th Oct 2017
    12:50pm
    If we are talking about age discrimination in the workplace, the Government needs to sort all the associated law out before they start on the employer. Workcover and workers compensation is a good place to start, superannuation and additional voluntary concessional or non-concessional contributions over the age of 75, TPD, income protection and life insurance over the ages of 65 to name a few.

    Then when the legal barriers have been removed more pressure can be brought to employers.
    KB
    17th Oct 2017
    1:35pm
    I am sure older workers can be retrained to use technology etc. I do feel there is age discrimination in the work place. People over 5p do get overlooked. Bosses need to employ people in their fifties.
    Baby Huey
    17th Oct 2017
    1:37pm
    After several years and some 200 applications without getting a job and having interviewers making comments like you are well educated and experienced as they show me the door I have decided rather than fall into a heap and feel sorry for myself to return to uni next year to get the further training and education the government refuses to give to anyone over 70.
    My fees will be on HECS. If I still cannot get employment after completion and therefore unable pay back the HECS the employers who refused to hire me can pay it through higher taxes.
    Emmy
    17th Oct 2017
    1:41pm
    It is a sad fact that most professionals of my vintage, with over 40 years of work experience (or more) can no longer be productive or useful in Australia's workforce, just because. I've got an MBM (MBA++), with a CPA qualification and have written biz papers and other articles in my past working life. Would love to share my experience and acquired skills with younger folk, but don't know where to start. Am just doing odd "projects" for friends and acquaintances, usually on a "pro bono" basis. I recently completed a major production of slide shows/videos for my BSC Class of '68, to celebrate our forthcoming golden anniversary in January 2018, which has been uploaded on YouTube.
    Anonymous
    17th Oct 2017
    4:02pm
    Enjoy your retirement
    Put your feet up.
    Relax
    Rosret
    17th Oct 2017
    7:12pm
    :)
    floss
    17th Oct 2017
    2:07pm
    Immigration and 457 visas have not helped the older employee cause. These people are exploited and paid peanuts but lower wages are what the Liberal Party is all about,as long as their bloated salary is not effected.
    KSS
    17th Oct 2017
    7:56pm
    Sweeping statement much?

    457 visas have little to nothing to do with the plight of the older worker. And for another, it was Labor who allowed many industries to exploit the visas by allowing them to circumvent the regulations in the first place - cooking, hospitality, construction....... 457 visas no longer exist and temporary work visas are more difficult to get now.
    Eddy
    17th Oct 2017
    3:24pm
    I worked past 65 and I was informed by HR that in the case of a workplace accident I would not be covered by ComCare for salary, only medical expenses and lump sum compensation if applicable. My wife, who worked into her 70s, and was told a similar thing by WorkCover. Blatant age discrimination even though the powers that be want us to work past retiring age.
    KSS
    17th Oct 2017
    7:57pm
    Agree which is why I posted as I did above.
    musicveg
    17th Oct 2017
    8:31pm
    "For regions with low participation rates like the Bass Coast in Victoria or the Lockyer Valley in Queensland, the focus will be to increase workforce engagement in general,"
    How can they increase workforce engagement in general when the young ones cannot even find work, we need to increase job availability first,these areas have limited amount of jobs.
    Jan
    18th Oct 2017
    7:02am
    I work at exam invigilation at a university two or three times a year for a couple of weeks, currently have 10 weeks of weekend work, did the Census last year, and host Homestay students. Also have grandchildren 4 days a week. It's not exactly what I would have chosen, but I have not found age discrimination in these areas. Most of the exam invigilators are older than me, and I'm 67 later this month.
    Emmy
    18th Oct 2017
    12:49pm
    Way to go Jan--making a difference!