Older worker pool can’t be wasted: Hockey

Joe Hockey says employers need to make their workplaces more flexible for older Australians.
Joe Hockey says employers need to make their workplaces more flexible for older Australians. Photo: AAP.

Employers may need more help to change their attitudes about taking on older Australians, Treasurer Joe Hockey has told a public forum.

They may also need to make their workplaces more flexible so that older workers are more able to work.

“Whatever the case, we cannot afford to let this large talent pool go to waste,” Mr Hockey said in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Hockey’s intergenerational report released last month, highlighted that as Australians are living longer, they need to work longer.

If older workers do not stay in the workforce for longer, fewer people will be working and paying taxes to fund health, education and other things we take for granted today.

“If we don’t do something, we risk reducing our available workforce, impacting negatively on growth and prosperity, and our income will come under increasing pressure,” Mr Hockey said when the report was released.

The intergenerational report, a five-yearly review of the next 40 years, anticipates economic growth will slow slightly due to an ageing population.

Average annual growth is expected to be 2.8 per cent over the next four decades, compared with 3.1 per cent in the past 40 years.

There will be only three workers in the traditional age range (15-64 years) for every person aged over 65 in 2054/55, compared with 4.5 people now and 7.3 in 1974/75.

Mr Hockey has previously stated that increased productivity and workforce participation is needed to drive prosperity through economic growth.

“If we are to achieve these goals, we need to encourage those currently not in the workforce, especially older Australians and women, to enter, re-enter and stay in work, where they choose to do so,” he said.

Source: AAP

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