Older workers top new Hopelessness scale

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Australia’s official unemployment rate currently sits at 5.7 per cent. At face value, this seems a reasonable figure, but according to economist Jason Murphy, the data tells a darker tale.

Using the latest ABS Participation, Job Search and Mobility data, Mr Murphy has created a ‘Hopelessness index’ by comparing a segment’s unemployment numbers against the number of employed people in that segment who started a job in the past 12 months.

For example, the Northern Territory has 5200 people currently unemployed, while 31,000 employed people started a job in the past 12 months. This means that the Northern Territory has a Hopelessness rating of 16.7 per cent, which is by far the lowest in the country. On the other side of the scale, Tasmania, which has 18,000 unemployed people and 35,000 employed people who started a job in the past 12 months. The result is a Hopelessness rating of 51.4 per cent, the highest in the country.

When you do the same analysis by age group, the data paints a disturbing picture for older Australian job seekers. The 60–64 age group tops the Hopelessness index by age group, scoring over 75 per cent on the scale. Second highest on the scale is the 65–69 age group, scoring around 60 per cent, closely followed by the 55–59 age group, with around 55 per cent. The 25–34 age group scored the lowest rating at under 30 per cent.

Read more from www.news.com.au
Read more from www.abs.gov.au

Opinion: Australia’s waste of experience

The data presented by Mr Murphy is confronting for anyone in the 55-plus age group who is looking for a job.

Old does not mean obsolete. In fact, all around the world we look to the 55+ age group to fill the most important roles. Take the upcoming US presidential election, where 70-year-old Donald Trump will battle 68-year-old Hillary Clinton for the top job. Looking closer to home, our current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is 61 years old. Let’s also not forget the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who is 79 years of age.

Age is only a number, but it seems to be a defining difference in the current Australian workforce. Unemployed workers in these age groups bring a solid work ethic and experience to the table, but what hope do they have when the person conducting the interview is a 30-something who can’t relate to that age and stage of life?

As a nation, we are wasting precious human resources. I’m not talking about coal, gold or copper, but the irreplaceable experience of our older workers that needs to be passed down through the workforce. It’s time for a Federal Government to do more than they already are to showcase and promote the older worker as an asset.

What do you think? Are you 55+? Have you experienced the struggle of finding a job in the current Australian workforce? Should more be done to embrace the skills and experience offered by older workers? And, if so, what?

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Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).


Total Comments: 48
  1. 0

    I have not been able to get job offers although I have had plenty of interviews for office administration, executive support type jobs which is what I had been doing for 20 odd years, until December 2015.

    On the other hand I have had no trouble getting work as a hospital cleaner, which I had never done until I turned 55. Work is work, so I am happy to take it but I expect this will be my last job before retirement.

  2. 0

    The major part of the problem is the ‘now generation’ who prefer once they have reached a managerial position not to have senior people around them lest they be shown up for their lack of knowledge and ability to arrive at logical solutions, something that comes naturally with experience.

    • 0

      Spot on poowomanme- Their attitude stems from their era when they were told “you can do anything”- although we all know that is just yank crap. They do not like admitting their mistakes, so will try to blame others or hide the errors.

    • 0

      I agree with you poorwomanme. The younger workers are afraid for their own worth and that the more experienced, wiser and knowledgeable senior workers will show them up.

  3. 0

    If you said 20 years ago that people would have to work beyond 60 or even 65, then you probably would have been ridiculed.

    I propose a ” ridiculousness” factor which measures how stupid we, as a society, have become.

  4. 0

    These statistics have always remained the same for older workers. That is why older workers used to get the age pension at 60. The 25 -34 group has always been the most employed because that is when humans are at their productive peak. Older workers have to downgrade jobs to get employed.

    • 0

      I don’t agree, I’ve reinvented myself twice in the last 12 years and changed career paths for the better.
      I believe you need to keep pace with technology, invest in yourself and if current employers wont give you a start, start your own enterprise. At 69 I own and run my own consulting business and earn more than I ever have.

    • 0

      Jackie- you have to separate the various skills of older people. Some ( like me have supervision skills, as well as 30 years of hands-on construction. Others have stayed on the tolols and are not good at supervision- that’s their position. To generalise that all 20-30 year olds have “productive” is very funny. Have you watched them WORK ?? It’s a crying shame to see their lack of input ( I generalise here as a few are great)- and seem to be watching the clock by about 2.30pm- ‘cos they are “zonked”. I put that down to either (i) too much late night TV or (ii) sex. I rest my point.

  5. 0

    Go tell this to Centrelink. They won’t allow you to work.

    • 0

      Centrelink administers the rules – they don’t make them!

    • 0

      You could get work, or start a business, step outside the Centrelink big brother network and you would not have to have anything to do with them at all.

    • 0

      Rea, you must be an alien with powers of prescience and magic karma to assume you know my circumstances.

    • 0

      Sorry Scrivener. I just meant that if someone really wanted to still work,could work and found work then Centrelink would be the least of their problems. They could step outside that system for a while.

      I didn’t mean you, in particular, my comment was badly worded.

  6. 0

    I worked until I was 72, retiring only because my last job (in communications) was rendered meaningless and unsatisfying by changes in top management. They didn’t want the publicity and media relations I could deliver. If I were younger I would’ve just put up with it and gone job-hunting but my time had come.
    I have had the sad experience of walking into a boardroom interview where everyone interviewing me was so young they could be my children’s age, and the way they looked at me was ‘Hey, it’s grandpa’ – I couldn’t face that again.
    The culture in a workplace is important and we oldies don’t fit into the typical modern office space. We have to be realistic and if we want to look for work go to places where we might still fit into the culture. Hard to find but it can be done.
    I’d still rather be with my mates from Probus than try to participate socially with 30- and 40-year olds. We’re just from different planets!

    • 0

      Biggest difference I find is the totally mindless always be positive and ignore any problem at all attitude.

      There is no question asking, reflection or in depth analysis going on.

      I found you can fit in quite well if you just smile madly at everyone and never ever notice a problem.

    • 0

      Phil 1943 I had a similar experience years ago. I was a bit quick at one interview when they asked me “what would you see as an immediate improvement ? I answered “RESPECT. I got the job and gained respect- but was always ready for the younger brats smart comments. I had a few back of my own- so that’s why you have to give it back -but with dignity- and a grin.

  7. 0

    When you read the news article they mention the high rate of ‘hopelessness’ when having to deal with Centrelink and the Job Services Network. Well Duh! Talk about study the bleeding obvious!

    The way people are treated at Centrelink right from the get go is appalling. The decision to register as unemployed by an older worker is never taken lightly. The tone of all communication is accusative and threatening. You are assumed to be nefarious before you even open your mouth. Then you have to also register with the Job Services Network who are quite simply not geared up to dealing with intelligent, older experienced workers. All their programmes are slanted to the ‘disadvantaged school leaver’ who can barely read or write, has no qualifications or job experience (and often no intention of getting any). The ‘support’ they force you to undergo is frequently demeaning, insulting and irrelevant for the older, unemployed worker. And on top of that they have absolute power over you and one wrong move and they report you to Centrelink for non-compliance who then stop your benefit until the issue is sorted out. No wonder there is a sense of hopelessness among older unemployed workers at Centrelink and Job Services Australia!

  8. 0

    One of the problems these days is the extremely high remuneration given to the C level people like CEOs, higher management etc. They are frequently sucking the value out a substantial part of the profits in many companies. E.G think of Sol Trujillo and his amigo cronies, banks etc etc

    • 0

      Then johnp why don’t you have a go as a CEO. You could save the company money by accepting a lower salary, and take your dividend from the profits made, (after they have been declared that is). Have a go- wear a wig, get a face lift- slouch as you walk and leave your shirt out. They are not allowed to ask your age- so swat up on stuff around the 1980s and chat away about people overseas that they won’t even know. You’ll kill ’em.

  9. 0

    How old are the people that are saying others are too old to work.
    And would they consider resigning at that age because they’re too old.
    Not serious; but something that should be included in any relevant studies.

  10. 0

    when my daughter started school i went looking for work at what was the commonwealth employment agency they told me that I was too old and it wasnt likely id find work because at the ripe old age of 30 I was too old. why pay me 10 dollars an hour when u can get a 16 year old for 2 dollars an hour. Now at 56 im a carer of two family members 24/7 and the government pays me $2.95 an hour.

    • 0

      What age was the agency person who told you you were too old. How did they reconcile your age with the job- did you have to work at something that only young people know about- like ignorance- or was it another brat who was keeping the “youngies closed shop” protected. They are not allowed to base your application on age- Report them- and maybe a few more brats will learn respect.

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