Posts Tagged “employ older workers”

New research into the treatment of older workers shows that many mature-age employees report experiencing discrimination in the workforce due to their age, and believe they are not receiving the same opportunities provided to other workers.

The research found there are more instances of older employees being laid off compared to their younger colleagues, while a stigma remains around their competency with technology and openness to change. Older women in non-managerial roles, working part-time or on a casual basis are more likely to report experiences of aged-based discrimination.

The research is part of a joint initiative by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) NSW and Challenger and is aimed at addressing the underemployment of people over 50. Importantly, the research considers the issue from the perspective of both Australian employers and employees.

Read: Age discrimination to cost $6 billion per year

“Australia’s mature-aged workforce is skilled and able – and older people are healthier than at any other time in history,” said Meagan Lawson, chief executive officer of COTA NSW. “But due to stigma and discrimination, there are fewer employment opportunities for people aged over 50.”

Key takeaways from the research include:
  • Many employers are unaware of age discrimination in the workforce but are willing to do something about it once it has been identified.
  • Businesses need support to understand how they are tracking, and the steps they can take to improve employment of mature workers.
  • Older workers believe a change in attitude by employers would help them financially and emotionally.
  • There’s a great diversity within mature-aged workers.

Ageing of the workforce is a critical challenge for the economy. In 1976, there were seven working people for every non-working person. In 2016, that had fallen to four to one, and according to the NSW Intergenerational Report, it will be two to one by 2056.

The benefits to individuals and the community go well beyond finance. Workforce participation is linked to better health outcomes and other positive well being indicators. But the research shows many mature age workers feel they don’t get a fair go, with excuses ranging from over-qualification and younger managers feeling threatened, to poor cultural fit and being bad for the corporate image.

“There is significant value to individuals, the community and the economy in supporting older people to work as long as they wish,” said Challenger chief executive officer Richard Howes. “Increasing workforce participation for older Australians will not only help improve overall well being but also contributes to financial security for a better retirement.”

Half the employers surveyed for the research believed they were doing enough to support older workers. While most employers have general workplace bullying, discrimination and equal opportunities polices in place, only a minority had specific policies that covered age discrimination in detail.

“Older workers should be more valued for the expertise, skills and experience they bring to the workplace, and building awareness around the issue of age discrimination with employers and employees of all ages is a key opportunity,” Ms Lawson said.

COTA NSW and Challenger are developing a toolkit to help employers implement age-friendly practices. It includes improved education for managers to address unconscious bias and improve hiring practices, as well as programs to help promote flexible working arrangements and anti-age discrimination policies. The toolkit will be available later in the year and will include initiatives to forge stronger connections between workers of all ages within an organisation and how to better train mature-age jobseekers.

“While not all older workers are the same, some uniform initial steps should be taken to address the issue of age bias,” Ms Lawson said. “There needs to be better education and training, more rigorous internal policies and structures, greater cross pollination among workers, and better access to job opportunities for older workers.”

The report is available at www.cotansw.com.au

Source: Yourlifechoices.com.au

If you’ve just come out of yet another stint of working from home through a lockdown, and you’re feeling both physically and mentally exhausted, you are not alone.

During the pandemic, 85 per cent of employees globally experienced higher burnout and nearly half reported having worse work/life balance.

If your boss is behaving like the last two years were just a bump in the road and is asking you to turn your attention to chasing down new targets and performance goals, you are not alone. 56 per cent of CEOs are gearing up for growth next year.

For many of us, it will feel like reaching the finishing line of a marathon, then being asked to start a triathlon.

The unrelenting pressure on already burnt out and psychologically damaged knowledge workers has prompted a phenomenon called ‘The Great Resignation’, and it will lead to the biggest movement of talent that Australia, and the rest of the world, has ever seen.

Aussies are sick of being overworked and are on the lookout for new opportunities. Picture: iStock

Aussies are sick of being overworked and are on the lookout for new opportunities. Picture: iStock

Fight or flight: is your job a threat to your wellbeing?

The question that keeps coming up is ‘why’? Why are we feeling this way? Why does it feel like it will be easier to just cut and run?

It’s ironic that in a time when our lives are so reliant on technology, the answer is somewhat primal.

When exhausted or threatened, people go into fight or flight mode, and most knowledge workers will know this feeling.

We fought hard to save our jobs and our way of life from the economic threat in front of us. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Australians and their APAC colleagues have worked longer hours, taken on more additional tasks and worked on days off more than in any other part of the world.

Now, as the dust settles, the economy improves and the breadth of job opportunities increases, people are reflecting on their experiences. The perceived need to be ‘always available’ for work without any additional recognition, respect or reward has many realising that work itself is now a threat to their happiness, health, relationships and mental outlook.

Decompression will send employees out the door, unless work culture changes

This instinctive human response to threats makes room for bold choices that will play out in one of two ways, but both ultimately end with a mass movement of talent in the workforce.

Many workers in Australia feel their relationship with their job is irreparably broken and will flee from what feels like a toxic relationship. For others, the simple desire for change, to say, “it’s not you, it’s me” and draw a line under the past two years will be overwhelming.

Homeschooling and the pandemic have made people reconsider their work/life balance.

In the coming months we’re likely to see an emancipation on a scale we’ve never seen before as people change roles or start entirely new careers.

If this feels like you, be aware that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Starting a new role, establishing new networks and developing new skills takes time and energy, of which Aussies have precious little.

On the other hand, others will choose to fight for the life and lifestyle they feel they now deserve. Flexibility, respect and purpose will become the minimum employee demands.

Organisations who do not meet those needs will lose staff. Those willing to embrace radical flexibility, human-centric work design and progressive social causes will become talent magnets.

It’s worth reminding your boss of this if you choose to have a discussion about the future of your role. The best place to start is examining what you need to change about your job and be firm about what you’ll accept as minimum.

It also needs to be said that the luxury to reconsider a job or entire career is reserved predominantly for knowledge workers who enjoy a higher-than-average sense of economic stability. Many lower-paid or frontline workers will not have the luxury to make these decisions.

Rewriting the social contract: the rise of the four-day work week?

When economic conditions swing wildly in the favour of workers, it tends to pave the way for massive societal change. Take the introduction of the 40-hour work week, or how WWII paved the way for women to enter jobs previously reserved only for men.

We’re seeing the same thing in 2021. With the job market heavily favouring jobseekers, the premiums being offered to secure talent make a job change are an alluring prospect for most workers.

Combine that with an increased desire for flexibility in a role and Australians’ willingness to change jobs, and companies will be forced to come up with solutions that don’t involve a pay rise.

Imagine staying on the salary you’re on, but only working four days. Sounds appealing, right?

Whether you choose to flee or to fight for better, the future of Australia’s work practices are in your hands. There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Australians to transform how we work and seize the lifestyle we want, but it won’t come from a job-switch alone.

As we enter this new era, it’s important to remember that we work to live, we don’t live to work. Prioritise your wellbeing and be clear with your employer about what you need. After the last two years, we all deserve at least that.

Aaron McEwan is a behavioural scientist, coaching psychologist and vice president for global research and advisory firm, Gartner | @aaronmcewan

Source: News.com.au

 

New research of Australia’s older workers has found that experiences of age discrimination in the workplace have almost doubled in the last five years.

According to the Australian Seniors Series: Ageing in the Workforce 2021 report, one in five workers (20.7%) aged over 50 has encountered age discrimination in the workplace – twice as many compared to 2016 (9.6%). Just over 40% say they have felt patronised in the workplace because of their age.

Despite the prevalence of ageism, more than three quarters of Australians aged over 50 want to keep working indefinitely and almost 90% of retirees plan to re-enter the workforce. Finance was identified as the biggest reason, followed by missing their job, boredom and a lack of social connection.

Speaking at a recent virtual roundtable, attended by HRD, industry experts discussed the new findings, sharing common misconceptions and ways to address ageism in the workplace. Tai Mavins, social research expert and consulting partner at Mymavins, said the events of the past 18 months have made things even more difficult for older workers.

“Over one in two seniors feel that Covid has made it harder to get work, and close to one in five feel that recent events have impacted their retirement plans, so it’s bringing a lot of uncertainty into their working life,” Mavins said. “In response to this, we actually see that one in four seniors admit to trying to make themselves look younger in the workplace or when they’re applying for jobs. That includes things from dying their hair, wearing the latest fashion, getting the latest haircut and makeup styles.”

Older workers are also becoming increasingly proactive at upskilling to keep up with advancing industry trends, with many branching out into new career paths.

“We found that close to three in five seniors plan to or already have reskilled or sought further training to improve their prospects since turning 50,” Mavins said. “What’s probably most interesting about that is as many as half of those people who are looking to reskill have done that in new areas, so they’re really expanding their horizons and moving beyond past roles.”

The research shows that the appetite to work and to continue learning is there. Like many nations, Australia has an ageing population, and the rising cost of living means people are working till later in life. So how do HR leaders address the causes of age discrimination and foster a truly inclusive workplace?

Humphrey Armstrong, an organisational psychologist at Lifelong Learning, said much of the problem stems back to commonly held misconceptions, like older employees costing more, being more difficult to train, or being resistant to change.

“I think one of the fascinating things is that emotional intelligence, or emotional capabilities actually increase with age well into a person’s 70s,” he said. “In terms of resistance to change, I think if older people know why change is needed and how to change they are prepared to jump on board.”

Armstrong pointed out that twice as many start-ups are initiated by over 50s than people in their twenties. Clearly, there is a huge amount of value in the learned knowledge, intuition and life experience of an older worker. But for a workforce to be inclusive of all ages, ageism needs to be more widely talked about, Armstrong said.

“We hear a lot about gender diversity, especially over the last few months, but in fact, age diversity is often ignored. We’ve got to actually bring that in and really reinforce the issue,” Armstrong said. “Research studies show that diversity is an incredible advantage in organisational life, it increases profitability, creativity, enhances governance, and it also enables better problem solving.

“And as mentioned, emotional intelligence can increase with age so there’s this huge resource where older people are, in fact, very valuable and very skilled at handling tricky interpersonal problems and generally they are better able to cope with ambiguity.”

Lisa Sinclair, editor-in-chief at DARE Magazine, said she’d like to see more organisations introducing policies to support women going through menopause and acknowledge the pressures on the “sandwich generation” who may be supporting both elderly parents and older children. There are also simple measures to improve inclusivity during the recruitment process.

“I would love it if companies in general stopped advertising for unicorns, which are these mythical creatures that have 15 different boxes to tick,” she said. “I mean that’s hard enough for any age but I think it could be particularly confronting for the over 50s who might be put off for applying for jobs just because there’s one element they don’t meet.”

Source:HRD

older worker

 

Australia’s chronic skill shortage has been even more acute since the breakout of COVID-19, and the broken record from businesses across all industries is the lack of skilled workers. In the age of emerging technologies and the rapid rate of change, it is natural for employers to gravitate to the younger (‘techier’) generation.

But younger workers are in short supply, shown by the decline in Australia’s birth rate over the last 30 years. Since 1976, Australia’s total fertility rate has been below replacement level and in 2019, the ‘total fertility rate’ was 1.66 versus its peak of 3.55 in 1961.

So, should astute hiring managers be looking towards the relatively untapped resource presented by the 19.4% of our workforce over 55 years of age? Over 55-year-olds also represent a significant 38.5% of the population above 19 years of age. With a current combined life expectancy of 83 years, a 55-year-old has many working years ahead of them.

Are older Australians up to the job?

If you are worried about performance, research shows no difference in performance between older and more youthful workers.  A key strategy for workforces globally is to reskill and upskill their existing workforce, and older workers are equally able to adapt and learn new skills. Scientific evidence shows that ‘for most people, raw mental horsepower declines after the age of 30, but knowledge and expertise – the main predictors of job performance–keep increasing even beyond the age of 80.’ Some businesses persist in trying to source talent from the ‘younger generational’ pool – their age bias can be that strong! In a recent study, 31% of Australians reported experiencing a form of discrimination, with ageism topping the list. But if employers were to rethink their approach when it comes to older workers, they would soon find themselves with a valuable talent pool.

Skills displayed in older workers

Still not convinced. There are skills older workers have that their younger counterparts may not possess. Older workers have wisdom. Wisdom cannot be learnt from books or virtual learning scenarios. It is acquired over time from life experience, knowledge, and tried and tested judgements. Valuable insights, meaningful contributions, and good decision making are some of the benefits.

 Mentoring enhances training programs and represents a valuable and different dynamic for mentees. We have lost some of our formal and traditional structures with changing societal norms and, with that, real role models. Acting as role models based on values and life achievements, they can nurture younger workers and share general and professional knowledge, experience, and life lessons. Mentoring creates trusted relations, increases employee engagement and retention, provides inspiration, encouragement and helps diversity.

Patience and tolerance are not just needed but expected for all workplaces. Learnt patience comes with time and less of a need to prove yourself. Being comfortable in your skin brings confidence, more prevalent in mature workers. Having tolerance in accepting people’s views and differences positively impact the team environment, bringing increased inclusion, cooperation, and collaboration. Patience also leads to better self-regulation skills benefiting team dynamics.

Over the years, mature employees have worked with various types of co-workers and managers and learnt how to handle different personality styles and work environments. Their interpersonal skills are well-honed. Their perceptions and understanding of behaviours are deeper.

We have all worked with those special, reliable employees who have seen it all before and know how to weather the latest storm. In our current times of increased uncertainty, rapid change and the collective anxiety brought on by COVID, it makes sense to employ stable, mature, wise individuals who can act as emotional anchors and help us navigate turbulent waters.

For the first time, Australia’s workforce includes five different generations. It opens up a learning opportunity and creates better business performance. As a final point, before you continue to dismiss ‘older workers’, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), older workers are those 45-65 years of age. Now, who is an older worker?

 

Source: Womens Agenda

Senior Advisor Bequest

RMIT’s latest mature aged graduates are today celebrating the value of lifelong learning as they receive qualifications to work in the aged care and disability services sector.

The 31 graduates aged in their 50s, 60s and 70s were the first cohort to complete the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing and Disability).

The 12-month course was developed to support unemployed mature workers over the age of 50 through accredited training and job placement in the aged care and disability services sector.

It’s one initiative as part of the Reach, Train and Employ Project led by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria in partnership with RMIT and Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand.

RMIT’s Future Social Service Institute (FSSI) Director, Micaela Cronin, said the course aimed to increase employment opportunities for older Australians in a vital sector, supporting older people and those with disabilities in the community.

“Opening doors and creating effective pathways for those in our community who face barriers to training and employment is vital to growing a diverse and highly skilled social service sector and is a core part of the work that we do,”  she said.

news-Micaela-CroninRMIT’s Future Social Service Institute Director, Micaela Cronin says opening doors to training and employment in the social services sector is vital.

Graduate Sharyn Ciberlin, 53, has now found work as a personal carer, after being in and out of work since 2018.

After an initial career as a chef, that included working for the military and various hospitality venues, Sharyn had more recently been working at a school supporting teachers in the classroom and teaching kids to cook.

However she said it was doing voluntary work for Melton Council taking elderly to their appointments and then supporting a friend who had a stroke that made her realise she also had a flair and passion for personal care and supporting others in the community.

“This course and new career feels like a wonderful fit for me. The people I support, they value and appreciate me and I love to support them, especially as my life experience and knowledge adds to my contribution to the aged,” she said.

“Also being over 50, and having worked as a chef in the past, I was looking for a job that was less strenuous physically and one that suited my skills and qualities including compassion and empathy for others.”

Sharyn emphasised the importance of choices and opportunities to re-educate yourself as people get older.

“This program is really clever as it’s addressing two issues in our community: employing older workers and focusing on supporting members in our community including the aged and people with a disability,” she said.

“You do hear about homeless levels for people over 50 or that we can be slotted into the ‘too old’ category for some roles.

“It can be especially challenging for our generation of women who have had to care for our family, elderly and young and may have had time out of our careers to do this.

“It’s so important to keep ourselves re-educated and to fit in with the current work needs, especially if we’ve had to step out of work for a time.

Graduate Sharyn Cyberlin has embraced the opportunity to retrain and begin a new career in her 50s.Graduate Sharyn Cyberlin has embraced the opportunity to retrain and begin a new career in her 50s.

For Sharyn, learning new digital skills throughout the course was something she wholeheartedly embraced too, as COVID restrictions meant it was taught mostly online.

“I absolutely loved learning, including the technology aspects, and I enjoyed helping others in the course who weren’t so confident in learning the new skills or grasping the technology needed to complete the program,” she said.

And she is quick to point out the merits of education opportunities for all.

“My biggest passion is choice. I think everyone should have a choice about the paths they can take,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter where you are or what stage of life you’re in, people need to have their choices valued and heard.”

Having already secured casual work with two home service agencies, Sharyn is now looking forward to finding permanent work and using her skills to support others now she’s graduated.

“I always tell my clients, ‘I’m here to help and I am here for you’ and I like to ask them, ‘How can I help you?’ Even if it’s just to be a listening ear sometimes, I know this work is valuable.”

COTA Victoria CEO, Tina Hogarth-Clarke, said the inaugural program was a great success with graduates now working closely with COTA Victoria to look at job opportunities.

“The Victorian Aged and Disability sector is in desperate need of quality candidates and we have a group of very enthusiastic graduates who are ideal for these positions. It is a great outcome all round.”

The program was supported by the Try, Test and Learn Fund – an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Story: Kate Milkins

Age discrimination is a recurring issue in the job recruitment market. Many workers over 50 are primed, qualified and looking for employment. Matt Higgins is from olderworkers.com.au, Australia’s only national job board connecting older job seekers with age-friendly employers.

The Big Victorian Harvest needs workers of all ages and skillsets. Jobs include fruit picking, packing, grains receival and heavy vehicle driving.

Most jobs required skills that can be learned on the job. Some jobs require training, skills or licences – like driving, for example. Check what’s needed before you apply.

The work is rewarding but it can be physically demanding. Some jobs may require heavy lifting, bending, climbing ladders and operating machinery. Work is often outdoors and exposed to the elements.

There are thousands of short-term jobs ripe for the picking in paddocks and packing sheds in Sunraysia, the Goulburn Valley, the Yarra Valley and Gippsland.

Take on the Big Victorian Harvest and help our farmers while you earn money.

Ready to apply? Head to Working for Victoria, the government’s online job-matching platform to register for jobs and training.

Sign-on bonus and extra benefits

The Big Victorian Harvest needs workers of all ages and skillsets. Jobs include fruit picking, packing, grains receival and heavy vehicle driving.

Most jobs required skills that can be learned on the job. Some jobs require training, skills or licences – like driving, for example. Check what’s needed before you apply.

The work is rewarding but it can be physically demanding. Some jobs may require heavy lifting, bending, climbing ladders and operating machinery. Work is often outdoors and exposed to the elements.

Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus

Jobseekers who take up a seasonal harvest job on a Victorian farm on or after Wednesday 17 February 2021 can apply for a Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus.

The bonus is aimed at attracting new workers to agriculture and giving farmers the workforce certainty they need this harvest season.

The bonus means you could earn up to $2,430 on top of your wages for eight weeks of work. The bonus is paid in two instalments:

  • $810, after 10 days of work within a 30-day period
  • $1,620, after an additional six weeks’ work within a 90-day period.

To be eligible for the bonus you must:

  • be 18 years or older and have work rights in Australia
  • not have worked in the agriculture sector in Victoria in the past three months
  • complete at least 10 days’ seasonal harvest work on a Victorian horticulture farm within a 30 day period to receive the $810 payment
  • complete at least another 30 days’ seasonal harvest work on a Victorian horticulture farm within a 90 day period to receive the $1,620 payment
  • not be employed under the Pacific Labour Scheme or Seasonal Worker Programme
  • provide evidence of employment in the Victorian horticulture industry and that you have met the work eligibility requirements.

The work does not need to be undertaken with only one employer, but it does need to be on a Victorian horticulture farm.

How to apply

Workers are not required to register for the bonus until after the initial 10-day work eligibility period has been completed.

Once you have completed your 10 days’ work, you will be able to apply for the bonus on this webpage, through our online portal.

Further details about how to apply will be provided here soon.

Extra benefits

The Victorian and Commonwealth Government are offering incentives for people to work in agriculture.

Relocation rebate

If you move to work on the Big Victorian Harvest, you may be eligible for relocation assistance from the Commonwealth Government.

Australian jobseekers may be eligible to claim up to $6,000 of reimbursements, while up to $2,000 is available to international jobseekers.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • relocate within Australia to a regional, remote or Harvest Area
  • take up a short-term agricultural work through a Harvest Trail Services provider
  • work for at least six weeks and 120 hours in agricultural work.

Find out more about relocation rebate and the eligibility criteria on the Harvest Trail Services website.

If you take on the Big Victorian Harvest, you may be eligible for:

  • Greater access to Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY. Earn $15,000 in agriculture between 30 November 2020 and 31 December 2021 to be considered independent.
  • Free Victorian Government-funded training programs to get you ready for work in agriculture.

Eligibility to work

You can work in a harvest job if you:

  • are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • are an eligible working holiday maker holding a visa with appropriate working rights
  • are an overseas student with working rights in Australia
  • hold a Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme visa
  • hold a temporary work visa with general work rights, not restricted to an employer or type of work.

Youth employment subsidy may cause significant collateral damage.

Older workers are already losing their jobs as a result of the federal government’s JobMaker initiative, according to Ian Yates, chief executive of the Council on the Ageing (COTA).

“We are very worried,” he said. “Already we’ve seen reports of older workers being laid off so they can be replaced with JobMaker workers.”

Mr Yates said COTA, an advocate for the rights of older Australians, had heard from “several” mature-aged workers being given notice as their bosses looked to take advantage of the JobMaker subsidy, introduced during the recent federal budget to counter youth unemployment.

JobMaker aims to create 450,000 jobs for young people, who’ve been four times more likely to lose their jobs or have their hours cut during the coronavirus pandemic. It offers $200 a week for businesses to hire workers under the age of 30, who are currently on JobSeeker, receiving a Youth Allowance or the Parenting Payment for at least 20 hours per week. The subsidy is $100 a week for workers aged 30 to 35. All businesses, except for the major banks, can access the scheme, which will be available for up to a year.

The Guardian reports: “Treasury officials revealed the conservative estimated benefit of the JobMaker hiring credit on Monday, ahead of a snap inquiry likely to spark calls to legislate more safeguards to the program.”

When the subsidy was proposed, ACTU Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said JobMaker had many flaws that “hadn’t been thought through”.

Ms O’Neill was concerned that older workers would be replaced by several younger ones.

“You’ve increased overall headcount and payroll, but replaced older workers with younger ones,” she told The New Daily.

“The employer will get double the wage subsidy if they employ two workers for 20 hours a week than if it was one for 40 hours. There’s no requirement for secure jobs or full-time jobs. They could hire them for a short period and replace them with another worker.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt wanted to see details of the scheme, concerned it might worsen the unemployment crisis. And Labor leader Anthony Albanese was concerned 928,000 jobless people aged over 35 would be disadvantaged.

Mr Yates sought a subsidy for older workers.

“Many mature-aged workers who are out of work due to the pandemic are facing disastrous personal circumstances. The Liquid Assets Waiting Period means they must spend their savings before they can get help: savings they will need in retirement,” Mr Yates told senior.com.au.

“Australia needs urgent action, or we’ll push a huge group, mostly women, into poverty in old age.”

Mr Yates supported the scheme but said mature and older workers were “equally vulnerable”.

He said people aged 18 to 24 and over-55s were most in need, and older people took twice as long to get a job.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the headcount and payroll of businesses needed to be higher after they hired people via JobMaker. He said this “integrity test” would ensure older workers were not exploited.

However, there is already rampant age discrimination in employment, said Professor Marian Baird, who heads work and organisational studies at the University of Sydney.

Prof. Baird told the ABC that JobMaker provided an incentive for employers to “cherry-pick people of a certain age”.

She feared it could encourage employers to “abandon older people in the labour market”.

“So, you could substitute someone who is 40 with someone who is 22.”

Prof. Baird said it was “a recipe for casualisation” because employers were only required to hire people for an average of 20 hours a week over a quarter to qualify for the subsidy.

“Someone could work 30 or 40 hours a week, none the next,” she said. “There’s no indication jobs have to be permanent or ongoing.”

Professor Andrew Stewart, an employment law specialist at the University of Adelaide, said the scheme would be difficult to police.

Anglicare Australia’s annual Jobs Availability Snapshot found that disadvantaged jobseekers, including older workers, were competing with more people for fewer jobs.

This year, eight jobseekers are competing for each entry-level job. If all jobseekers are included, there are 106 jobseekers for each entry-level job.

There are also 1.63 million under-employed Australians who could also be competing for these jobs.

“If we’re serious about helping people, we need to create jobs that match their skills – instead of forcing them to compete for jobs that just aren’t there,” said Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers

 

Source:Yourlifechoices.com.au

Will Brodie Journalist

Youth employment subsidy may cause significant collateral damage.

People waiting for job interview in office

Older workers are already losing their jobs as a result of the federal government’s JobMaker initiative, according to Ian Yates, chief executive of the Council on the Ageing (COTA).

“We are very worried,” he said. “Already we’ve seen reports of older workers being laid off so they can be replaced with JobMaker workers.”

Mr Yates said COTA, an advocate for the rights of older Australians, had heard from “several” mature-aged workers being given notice as their bosses looked to take advantage of the JobMaker subsidy, introduced during the recent federal budget to counter youth unemployment.

JobMaker aims to create 450,000 jobs for young people, who’ve been four times more likely to lose their jobs or have their hours cut during the coronavirus pandemic. It offers $200 a week for businesses to hire workers under the age of 30, who are currently on JobSeeker, receiving a Youth Allowance or the Parenting Payment for at least 20 hours per week. The subsidy is $100 a week for workers aged 30 to 35. All businesses, except for the major banks, can access the scheme, which will be available for up to a year.

The Guardian reports: “Treasury officials revealed the conservative estimated benefit of the JobMaker hiring credit on Monday, ahead of a snap inquiry likely to spark calls to legislate more safeguards to the program.”

When the subsidy was proposed, ACTU Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said JobMaker had many flaws that “hadn’t been thought through”.

Ms O’Neill was concerned that older workers would be replaced by several younger ones.

“You’ve increased overall headcount and payroll, but replaced older workers with younger ones,” she told The New Daily.

“The employer will get double the wage subsidy if they employ two workers for 20 hours a week than if it was one for 40 hours. There’s no requirement for secure jobs or full-time jobs. They could hire them for a short period and replace them with another worker.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt wanted to see details of the scheme, concerned it might worsen the unemployment crisis. And Labor leader Anthony Albanese was concerned 928,000 jobless people aged over 35 would be disadvantaged.

Mr Yates sought a subsidy for older workers.

“Many mature-aged workers who are out of work due to the pandemic are facing disastrous personal circumstances. The Liquid Assets Waiting Period means they must spend their savings before they can get help: savings they will need in retirement,” Mr Yates told senior.com.au.

“Australia needs urgent action, or we’ll push a huge group, mostly women, into poverty in old age.”

Mr Yates supported the scheme but said mature and older workers were “equally vulnerable”.

He said people aged 18 to 24 and over-55s were most in need, and older people took twice as long to get a job.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the headcount and payroll of businesses needed to be higher after they hired people via JobMaker. He said this “integrity test” would ensure older workers were not exploited.

However, there is already rampant age discrimination in employment, said Professor Marian Baird, who heads work and organisational studies at the University of Sydney.

Prof. Baird told the ABC that JobMaker provided an incentive for employers to “cherry-pick people of a certain age”.

She feared it could encourage employers to “abandon older people in the labour market”.

“So, you could substitute someone who is 40 with someone who is 22.”

Prof. Baird said it was “a recipe for casualisation” because employers were only required to hire people for an average of 20 hours a week over a quarter to qualify for the subsidy.

“Someone could work 30 or 40 hours a week, none the next,” she said. “There’s no indication jobs have to be permanent or ongoing.”

Professor Andrew Stewart, an employment law specialist at the University of Adelaide, said the scheme would be difficult to police.

Anglicare Australia’s annual Jobs Availability Snapshot found that disadvantaged jobseekers, including older workers, were competing with more people for fewer jobs.

This year, eight jobseekers are competing for each entry-level job. If all jobseekers are included, there are 106 jobseekers for each entry-level job.

There are also 1.63 million under-employed Australians who could also be competing for these jobs.

“If we’re serious about helping people, we need to create jobs that match their skills – instead of forcing them to compete for jobs that just aren’t there,” said Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers.

Have you experienced ageism in the workforce? Do you think JobMaker will disadvantage older workers?

 

Source:Yourlifechoices.com.au

Older unemployed and underemployed workers struggling to find roles due to ageism in recruiting

Many older applicants report being rejected for jobs because of “Cultural Fit”

Answer this question: How easy is it for you to strike up a good conversation with your younger colleagues in the office kitchen?

It may seem like a strange question, but that’s a benchmark some companies are using to decide who to hire, one Sydney-based recruiter tells us, and the assumption is that older Australians won’t know what to say to their younger colleagues.

When PM spoke to 44-year-old John Allie last month his confidence had begun to take a hit because after more than 100 job applications, and 30 final round interviews, the feedback was always the same.

“You interviewed well, they really liked you, but they didn’t feel you were a cultural fit for the role,” Mr Allie said.

“I mean what does that even mean?”

Mr Allie feared it was a bit of a catch-all comment to imply he wouldn’t get along with his younger co-workers.

So, PM asked those involved in the hiring process if Mr Allie’s fears were well founded.

“The candidate you were talking about saying it’s used as a bit of a catch-all is true,” Mark Smith, the group managing director of recruitment firm people2people, said.

He shared his own example of a middle-aged candidate being passed over for not being the right cultural fit in a call centre.

“We had a more mature guy that went in for the job,” he said.

“That’s the way the client described it to us and that’s how we had to pass it onto him.”

In this example, the company went with a younger candidate.

“The reality is that they asked him how are you going to deal with this particularly stressful job with the inbound calls,” Mr Smith explained.

“He said, ‘well I would engage in some banter in the kitchen with my colleagues’.

“That’s when the [company] turned to us and said, ‘you know what, he’s probably not going to be able to engage in the banter in the kitchen with his colleagues because he really won’t have too much in common with them to talk about.

“So they went with another candidate who happened to be younger.”

Young favoured for tech-heavy roles

But it’s not just navigating office banter that’s tripping up older Australian job candidates, said Kathryn Macmillan, the managing director of 923 Recruitment.

Her team places white-collar workers in finance, administration, sales, marketing and technical roles, from entry level to senior management.

She told PM that, for many admin and tech-heavy roles, companies are actively preferencing younger candidates.

“Perfect example of that is Single Touch Payroll,” she said.

“People in accounts need to be able to navigate a huge amount of software: MyGov ID, Single Touch Payroll, and it’s really quite complex.

“So it’s that ability to be proficient in that technological use.”

PM asked Ms Macmillan if she was seeing a preference from companies for younger people to take on those roles as opposed to older people who perhaps aren’t “digital natives”.

“So for people who are older it’s very important that they address that perception.”

Figures from the partly government-funded Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research show 18 per cent of workers aged 55-64 believe their organisation discriminates on the basis of age in recruitment and selection.

This preference for younger candidates is starting to show up in the number of older Australians being forced onto government assistance programs.

Australians aged between 45 and 65 now make up about half of all unemployment support recipients, with more than 330,000 on the welfare payment as of September last year.

‘Pick a footy team to follow’

Recruiter Mark Smith said there was definitely a need for older Australians to work on their job skills, but also called on the Government to establish workplace age diversity targets to combat the problem.

Age discrimination commissioner Kay Patterson told PM a large number of companies were breaching the law by discriminating on the basis of age.

PM asked Dr Patterson if the Government had any plans to set an age diversity target, at least for the public sector.

“I don’t know if setting targets is the way to go about it,” she said.

“My team here have been working on training programs for the NSW State Government to encourage their recruiters to look towards a multi-generational workforce and making sure there’s diversity — not only in terms of gender — but in terms of age as well.

“I think it’s about educating employers that they benefit from having a range of age groups.”

In the meantime, Mark Smith’s advice for underutilised or unemployed older Australians is to be specific when asking for feedback from recruiters.

“Ask the recruiter ‘what particular competencies was I lacking?'” he said.

“‘How would you describe the culture?’ and get them to describe it back to him.”

Oh, and pick a footy team to follow … seriously.

“What that means is that if you’re going to work in an environment where you’ve got a lot of people who are interested in AFL, if you’ve moved to Melbourne, you’ve got to pick up a team.”

source: ABC

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