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“Their skill levels are out of date, they can’t take instructions from younger people and they’re generally too tired.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