Posts Tagged “jobs for older workers Melbourne”

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

Older Australians struggling to make ends meet or looking to boost their quality of life are flooding the national jobs market in record numbers but many are finding their skills and experience unwanted by prospective employers.

Special research into the changing nature of the jobs market reveals people over the age of 65 are the single fastest growing age group securing work, up by 11 per cent over the past 12 months alone.

There is a record number of older Australians in the workforce but they have also seen a huge jump in unemployment for those seeking a job
There is a record number of older Australians in the workforce but they have also seen a huge jump in unemployment for those seeking a jobCREDIT:PETER BRAIG

At the same time, the general workforce has lifted by 3 per cent.

There are now a record 610,000 people 65 or older holding down part or full time work.

But despite the large increase, many older Australians are finding it very difficult to get work with a 39 per cent jump in the number of unemployed over 65s looking to tie down a full time job.

Unemployment across 65-year-olds looking for any type of work has jumped by almost 28 per cent. Across the general population it fell by a full percentage point over the past year.

West Australian workplace diversity expert Conrad Liveris said there were a range of issues that were seeing so many older Australians enter the workforce and then struggle to get the job they wanted.

Older Australians are facing a battle to get back into the workforce, says Conrad Liveris.
Older Australians are facing a battle to get back into the workforce, says Conrad Liveris.CREDIT:AFR

He said many were returning to work to maintain a decent quality of life, discovering they did not have enough cash stored away for retirement.

This was a generation that did not have compulsory superannuation through their entire working lives and women in particular are at risk of reaching their mid-60s without a large nest egg to see them through retirement.

Mr Liveris said there was also evidence of early retirees who have discovered they missed work and, with demand relatively strong across the jobs market, have gone back for employment

 “The 65-plus age group is caught between a transition to a new retirement system, a changing labour market and an economy which still values their skills,” he said.
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“And also, they’re not dying. Their health is pretty damn good. They are not going anywhere.”

The law is also keeping them in work longer. Last month the age at which a person can access the pension was increased to 66 from 65.5 years.

Older Australians aren’t just flooding into the workforce. They’re also taking on more than one job.

Separate figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that between 2011-12 and 2016-17 the proportion of people holding down more than one job grew by 14 per cent.

But among those over the age of 60, the increase was 18 per cent.

Source: The Age

U.S. employers and policymakers can learn from Japan, Germany and Singapore

Have you ever heard the term “super-aged country?” I hadn’t until I read the just-released Gerontological Society of America (GSA) report, Longevity Economics: Leveraging the Advantages of an Aging Society. The term means that more than one in five people in a country is 65 or older. Japan and Germany are super-aged; by 2030, United Kingdom, France and Singapore will be. So will the United States, raising the question: Why aren’t U.S. employers and the U.S. government adapting policies so more Americans 65 and older can keep working if they’re healthy and interested?

Our businesses and policymakers, it turns out, might do well to follow the lead of super-aged Japan and Germany and soon-to-be super-aged Singapore, based on my reading of the report from GSA and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The study about what the GSA calls “this longevity era” was produced by a workgroup chaired by Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

American employers “haven’t done much of anything to reach out to older workers, let alone accommodate their interests and priorities,” Cappelli told me. “People have to work longer because we’re living longer. So how do we accommodate that?”

Below are a few ways the GSA report says Japan, Germany and Singapore have changed their workforce and governmental policies to keep and attract older workers. “The idea in all these places is to get employers to think about the way to deal with human capital needs,” Cappelli says. A word of warning — one way older people are able to keep working in these countries is by accepting pay cuts.

Japan

The number of employed people age 65 and older in Japan recently hit a record 8.07 million. They now comprise roughly 12 percent of Japan’s workforce, which is a record there, too. And three-quarters of Japanese people aged 60 to 64 are still working (by contrast, only 60 percent of Americans that age are).

One reason many Japanese workers now remain employed past the country’s traditional retirement age of 60 is that the eligibility age to receive a Social Security-like retirement pension from the government is rising. It’s now 62 and will hit 65 in 2025.

Another reason why more people are working longer in Japan: the Japanese government is now requiring companies to employ their workers through age 65 if they want to keep working. The catch is that the older workers must still “retire” at 60; then they return to work under a “continuous employment” policy at a much lower salary. Japanese salaries at age 61 are about one-fourth less than before the worker turned 60, the GSA report notes.

A public-private partnership called the Silver Center Workshops helps retirees find part-time jobs, too. There’s also a catch here, though: the jobs are low-paying — roughly $400 to $500 a month (in U.S. dollars) and in low-skilled areas like housekeeping, park maintenance and bike repair.

“It’s outplacement for older individuals,” says Cappelli. “In Japan, it’s now less about keeping people working at the same companies longer and more about trying to get them into alternate jobs and to do other kinds of things.”

Germany

Germany has also been incentivizing older residents to work longer by pushing back the federal retirement age — it was 65 in 2012 and will be 67 in 2029.

But the country has an intriguing program designed to let people continue working, as well. It’s called “Initiative 50 Plus” and provides training and lifelong learning to older people. Older workers who accept positions with lower salaries get a temporary subsidy for doing so.

“They’re trying to encourage individuals not to retire and to make it attractive to keep working,” says Cappelli.

Singapore

Singapore has been especially proactive towards older workers, but that’s because the country hasn’t had much choice. While only 7 percent of residents were over 65 in 1999, 20 percent will be that old by 2026. So Singapore’s leaders have developed a 70-item initiative to make the country what they call “a nation for all ages.”

Last year, legislation kicked in that “encourages older workers who want to stay employed to do so,” the GSA report says. In Singapore, employers must generally offer re-employment contracts to eligible employees at age 62 and the contracts must be renewable every year until 67. If a company can’t offer a position to an eligible employee, the report notes, it must transfer the obligation to another employer or offer a one-time assistance payment.

But if your company does want to keep you, “everything from the prior job is off the table,” says Cappelli. “Your prior job is finished, whether you were the CEO or an hourly worker. Your old pay doesn’t matter now. Your new rate of pay reflects your real productivity.”

Singapore is effectively telling its older workers, says Cappelli, “You want to keep working? OK, but you can’t just be the boss because you’re older.” And managers, Cappelli says, are being told to “manage these older workers in a different way and be respectful of their experience, but to hold them accountable.”

How well is it working? “The problem with Singapore is you never know,” says Cappelli. “They could tell you it’s working great and you never know for sure.”

Last month, what’s known as a tripartite standard from Singapore’s Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices began encouraging age-inclusive workplace practices, benefiting employees 60 and older. So far, 160 employers have signed on.

Said Singapore’s Second Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo: “The new standard will support older Singaporeans to work as long as they are willing and able to, in jobs that are safer and smarter in a work environment where they feel valued and where their needs are addressed.”

Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Human Resources Director New Kheng Tiong, a fan of older workers, just hired Chua Ai Gek, 67, as a bar assistant there. “Mature workers tend to be a bit more loyal and punctual,” he told Channel News Asia.

The United States

The GSA report stopped short of making policy recommendations for the U.S. government or for employers. It did say, however, that Congress should look at the tax law to incentivize older workers to remain employed and that employers should implement “aging-friendly policies.”

The cloud hanging over all this here, of course, is age discrimination by employers. “We’re fighting some headwinds,” says Cappelli. “I don’t know that we’re making a ton of progress.”

He’s right. But that could change if employers and the U.S. government wise up, especially as America becomes super-aged. By 2035, for the first time, there will be more Americans who are 65 and older than ones who are under 18. As the GSA report says: “Demography is not destiny. The way people and countries respond to an aging society will determine the future.”

Here are what the Gerontological Society of America says are the “realities” of an aging society:

Source:nextavenue.org