Age still a barrier

The recently released Career Snapshots on older workers demonstrates that age remains a barrier to employment for many older workers with 57 per cent of respondents describing discrimination as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ widespread and 84 per cent believing discriminatory attitudes impede the employment of older workers.

The research is the first in a series of surveys which feature views of members of the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA). The results of this discrimination are mature workers being overlooked for training and rewards, encountering resistance for moves to positions for career change, considered less productive than younger workers and overlooked for other career opportunities. But the report notes that older workers also impede their own progress particularly when it comes to low confidence, poor career management, lack of up-to-date technology skills and a sense that they are locked into their current position.

The members of the CDAA are at the pointy end of helping older workers stay employed, change jobs, or get back into the labour market. They are in a privileged position of both seeing government initiatives telling older workers they are of great value, and hearing workers’ own experiences in the interview room or with their managers. There remains a clear disconnect between the stated position of federal and state governments that older workers = value and the very real instances of discrimination experienced by such workers. More employees willing to used Age Discrimination laws to fight dismissal or being overlooked for promotion or training can only help.

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