Posts Tagged “jobs for older workers”

Always customise your resume to the specific job you’re applying for.

Always customise your resume to the specific job you’re applying for. Source: News Limited

The majority of job seekers aren’t using their resumes to paint themselves in the best light, new research finds.

Three quarters of human resources professionals say one of the reasons they’re having trouble finding qualified candidates for their open positions is because of poor resumes, according to a study from the career network Beyond.

Overall, 73 per cent of the HR pros surveyed believe job candidates are doing a bad job of tailoring their resume to the specific position they’re applying for, and less than 30 per cent of job seekers say they always customise their resume to a specific job.

That means the majority of candidates are not taking advantage of the opportunity to highlight their most relevant experiences and to prove to employers that they are worthy of an interview, the study’s authors said.

Further underlining their need to alter the way in which they present themselves to employers, many of those looking for work aren’t sure whether hiring managers are looking for their hard skills, such as degrees and technical training, or their soft skills, like communication and teamwork, according to the research.

The study revealed that while hard skills will get candidates in the door, it’s their soft skills that will get them the job. Nearly 70 per cent of the HR professionals surveyed look at hard skills first when searching for candidates. Fifty-six per cent, however, said that the most important abilities in a new hire — and those that often get them the job — are soft skills, especially interpersonal relations.

“There’s no secret password for getting hired, however, job seekers can increase their chances by highlighting hard skills in their resumes and demonstrating soft skills during the interview process,” Beyond’s vice president of marketing, Joe Weinlick, said in a statement. “Many job seekers have the right ingredients; now they need to put them in the right order.”

The study was based on surveys of nearly 4,000 job seekers and human resources professionals.

This article originally appeared on Business News Daily and was republished with permission.


By Neil Patrick and Dean Goranson


The debate about the relationship between employee age and business performance has been going on for ever. But the recent economic turmoil and its after effects on young and old alike have resulted in the topic surfacing again. It’s time to ditch the prejudices.

Employer attitudes can be summarised as:

Younger workers are cheaper to hire, have more up-to-date skills – especially in the area of technology and have more energy and dynamism. They also have lower reliability and significantly less loyalty.

Older workers stick around for much longer than their younger peers. They attain greater mastery of their work and have higher interpersonal skills. But they are also more expensive, less energetic and struggle with today’s technology.

This simplified view distorts the real question. There is no simple correlation between employee age and business performance. Having an older or younger workforce doesn’t automatically make your business perform better or worse. Neither does providing a great working environment result in greater staff loyalty.

The surprising truths about age and employee retention

According to the PayScale report, the Fortune 500 company with the highest median employee tenure (20 years) is Eastman Kodak. More than half of its employees are older than 50. Over the five years through 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, it delivered an average return on assets of negative 12%…

Another myth is that creating a great working environment and culture for staff increases loyalty.

The perks Google lays on for its youthful employees are the stuff of legend. Free gourmet food all day, the best health insurance plan anywhere, five months’ paid maternity leave, kindergartens and gyms at the workplace, the freedom to work on one’s own projects 20 percent of the time, even death benefits. The tech behemoth has topped Fortune Magazine’s list of best companies to work for every year since 2007.

Despite this, Google ranks amongst those with the highest employee turnover rates. The median employee tenure at Google is just over one year, according to the payroll consultancy PayScale.

The simple truths are staring us in the face

So what are businesses to do? If you hire younger people, you are burdened with higher turnover rates. If your workforce is older, you risk stagnation and loss of competitive edge.

A friend of mine, Dean Goranson has provided a valuable perspective which I provide below. It’s a simple tale about his experiences when seeking to get his watch strap repaired.

Here’s Dean’s tale:

A while back I had somehow managed to break the watch band on my high end wrist watch. I finally got tired of running around with it in my pocket, so one day I decided to go down to the mall and check out the jewellery stores to either get it fixed or replaced.

The first store I stopped in, I showed the young lady my watch. She took it to her manager. He asked if I had purchased the watch in their store. I said , ”No”. He replied, “I’m sorry it’s the store’s policy to only work on Items we sell from here.” I then asked, “Isn’t that the style of watch you have in your display case?” “Well yes” was this young man’s reply “but we don’t service anything we haven’t sold. Perhaps you should try that watch band kiosk across from us.” This young manager who must of been well on the south side of thirty was definite in his conviction of his being right. Consumer experience was nowhere to be found on his radar screen. So off to the kiosk to see if I would have any better luck there.

The experience with the young lady who also appeared to be well on the south side of thirty turned out to be quite similar to the first store I had stopped at. I asked if she thought she could fix my watch band. “No, I’m afraid I can’t. We only sell watch bands and put them on for the customer and I don’t have anything that nice. I have an imitation leather if you want me to put that on for you?” I declined and bid her adieu. I really started to feel like this was becoming a quest by this point with no easy answers, yet on I trudged to the next jewellery store.

At the third store I was confronted by another well under thirty something young fella. I showed him the watch and asked if they could fix it “Let me get my manager.” The manager is summoned. Another under 30 something, he takes a look at the watch and say’s “Let’s see what my jeweller can do with this.” so over to the jewellers station we go he looks at it and say’s ” I’m not going to be able to fix this band.” the manager then asks ” Do we have any watch bands in the store to replace this?’ They look and no can do. “Well, I guess we’ll need to call home office to order a replacement.”

The manager asked the jeweller to call home office for the order, the jeweller came back and said he couldn’t get home office on the phone. The manager then asked, “Let me get your phone number and I will call you as soon as I find out something.” At least this young manager was trying to make my experience worthwhile but his operation was in such a state of chaos that he couldn’t make it happen. So off I went disappointed and frustrated.

By now I was a bit dejected at not being able to either get my watch band fixed or replaced.


Walking past the fourth jewellery store, I happened to look in and behind the counter were a couple of ladies. They were well up in age – the grey hair, the glasses and thick figures. I thought to myself what the heck, let’s see if they have any ideas.

Into the store I go and ask these two women, “I’ve got a broken watch band is there anything you can do with it?” “Let me see it,” the white haired gal asked. “We’ve only just started selling this brand of watch; you’ve had yours for a while haven’t you?” “Yes I have.” I could tell in her mind she was fussing over what her next move was going to be. “Let’s take this over to Bill and see what he has to say”.

So over to Bill we go who turns out to be their manager. He too is older and greying. The lady explains the situation to him and asks what they could do to help me. Bill looks at me and says ” Technically I’m not supposed to work on a watch we haven’t sold to a customer, the upper management has the fear we will get sued by someone who claims we broke their stuff.” “You wouldn’t do something like that if I worked on your watch would you?” I said “It’s already broken, what have I got to lose.”

Bill then asks,” Where did your watch fit on your wrist before the band broke?” I showed him and he said “Let me try something.” He took my watch over to another counter and came back in a couple of minutes and said “See if that fits over your hand?” My watch fits better now than it did before I broke the band. Bill even refused to charge for the repair.

A few weeks later it was a good friend’s birthday. And I bought her some diamond earrings. Did I shop around? No I just went straight back to Bill…

Horses for coursesDean’s experience is not research data of course. It’s no more or less than a personal experience. But I am sure it is one that most of us can relate to and have probably shared.

In the effort to improve on profits, what ends up being missed is the consumer experience – the part which keeps the customer coming back for more and recommending the business to others. This hinges on those people the business owner has retained to be the company’s representatives to the public. The higher the quality service the customer receives, the better the results for the business.

As Dean’s story relates, the different levels of service received directly influenced his purchase behaviour now and probably for many years to come. An older employee might be well past the dynamic approach of their youth. But today, youthful distractions are behind them. They have the rich experience of what quality service and customer care really mean.

It seems to me that it’s time to forget the over-simplistic and pointless debate of young versus old. What we need is a simple recognition that age in and of itself is not the issue. Skills and attitudes are what matter. If you want to give your customers excellent service, there is a strong argument for hiring older people. And even if they are slightly more expensive, you’ll recover these costs in longer tenure and enhanced customer loyalty. If you need the sort of perspective that the young have and can afford to replace them frequently, then hire young people. But don’t expect there’s anything you can do to keep them for long.

Let’s not be trapped by the pointless argument about which is better. The key to getting the best business results is about understanding the distinct merits of young and old, making hiring decisions on the value of each and the requirements of the role regardless of the candidate’s age.

Age Discrimination Starts Early!

These Strategies Can Help.

numbersWhile finishing her MBA at a top tier university, Sarah was enthusiastically recruited by a large company. She accepted their offer to join the marketing department. Once there, she connected with a powerful mentor who helped her snag plum assignments. For several years Sarah was the most junior professional in her group, and she enjoyed being treated like a young star.

After a few years, the growing company made a wave of new hires and Sarah began to feel neglected. She said she was stuck with routine workwhile the interesting new projects went to her younger colleagues.

Sarah was asked to supervise the internship program, but didn’t enjoy the work. She said the interns didn’t have the right work ethic and were obsessed by technology. One day as she entered the kitchen, she heard them making fun of her for being clueless about the power of social media.

When Sarah came to me for coaching, she complained that she was past her career peak. She felt like she was cut off from the company’s high potential challenges and might be too old to compete for another good job elsewhere. Sarah was 34 at the time.

Sarah felt she was the victim of age discrimination and to some degree her concerns were well founded. Ageism is rampant in the workplace and can be hard to fight. And even 30-something careerists like Sarah can find themselves sidelined by employers seeking fresh talent.

Sarah found ways to demonstrate her energy, talent and enthusiasm, and soon worked her way out of her slump. One thing that helped her was finding examples of older professionals whose age did need not seem to limit their success. She noticed that while some in her circle were dissed for being out of date, others seemed timeless despite their years.

If you’re facing a subtle age bias, a starting point for getting past it is to understand the negative stereotypes on which it’s based. Then make it clear that the stereotypes don’t fit you. Consider these strategies for minimizing the burden of ageism:

  •  Be tech-savvy. You don’t have to enjoy Skyping, sharing on Instagram or building a Twitter community. But if those are the ways that your colleagues or customers communicate, you absolutely must know how to join in. If you want to stay in the game, keep up with the technology. Take classes or find help, buy the devices, and do whatever it takes to keep your skills current.   And when you don’t understand the latest developments, avoid the temptation to indulge in a Luddite rant. Express an interest, ask for assistance and get on board.
  • Look and act fit. Some employers and younger workers believe that their older colleagues may have physical limitations that will prevent them from performing their fair share of the work. And your boss or clients won’t offer you new challenges if they think you are about to have a heart attack. If you want to maximize your career options, it is vital not only that you stay healthy but also that you look healthy and you exude energy.
  • Talk healthy. Most of us have health issues from time to time, but we can manage the way they impact us in the workplace. Beware of sabotaging yourself by talking too much about your symptoms or crises. If you endlessly discuss your health challenges, not only will you be boring, but people may start to think of you as frail and over the hill. Talk about the great hike you took last weekend, instead of how sore you felt on Monday morning.
  • Be stylish. Looking shabby may seem cool when you’re 27. But the older you get, the more important it is to look polished and up to date. If your clothes, hairdo or glasses seem out of style, you may seem like you are past your prime. That doesn’t mean you should dress like a kid, but you should aim for a look that feels current.
  • Don’t bring up your age. If you are older – or younger – than the people you work with, it is very tempting to keep mentioning that fact.   But if you can refrain from alluding to the age difference, there is a good chance that other people will forget about it.
  • Build a varied network. If you are accustomed to hanging out with friends of all ages, you are more likely to blend easily into a group of younger or older people. If you don’t allow age to be a barrier in your social life, you will be more comfortable talking and keeping up with different age groups at work.
  • Listen to your colleagues. A great starting point for building strong relationships at work is to genuinely listen to what other people have to say. If you’re part of the older set, show an interest in what younger folks say and learn from their perspective.

If you put aside your own prejudices about age and look for opportunities to work on projects with people of all generations, you’ll become more skillful at avoiding the burden of age bias.

Posted by Adam Blanch on 16 September 2014   

The 2014 Federal Budget is mostly ‘stick’ and very little ‘carrot’ for older Australians. By reducing government support to older Australians, it will force many to work longer but offers few incentives to do so.

It’s not clear whether all the changes from the Federal Budget will make it through the Senate, but there are a few realities that older workers need to consider.

The major change is that the age pension will be both more difficult to obtain and of lower value. Income testing will be more stringent, with the income eligibility threshold being 35 per cent lower than it currently is. Superannuation will continue to be included in the ‘asset test’, but super draw downs will now be considered ‘income’ as well, making it harder to obtain a part pension.

Additionally, the age pension will now be indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rather than the average male wage. Council on the Ageing (COTA) estimates that this means a real world reduction of $80 per person per week on a full pension within 10 years.

Last but not least, the age at which a person is eligible for the pension will increase from 67 years of age at a rate of six months every two years until it hits 70 years of age in 2035. This translates to Australia having the highest age for the age pension in any OECD country.

COTA – the leading national advocate for seniors – came out strong in response to the Federal Budget stating that: “The more vulnerable and disadvantaged groups within the community are being asked to take a disproportionate share of the burden of adjustment, including the young and the old.”

There will also be an increase in the income threshold for the Seniors Healthcare Card. The Seniors Supplement was abolished as of 1 July, 2014 and a new co-payment for both doctor’s visits ($7) and medications (80 cents) will be introduced. As seniors are the demographic most in need of medical assistance, this will hit them the hardest.

The other major change is to superannuation. The concessional superannuation contribution cap (contributions that are made before tax deductions) that you are permitted increases from $25,000 to $35,000 by 2015 for those over 50 years of age. The non-concessional cap (voluntary contributions from post-tax incomes) goes up from $150,000 to $180,000. This means that you can voluntarily build your super faster. However, for incomes over $300,000, the tax rate on super contributions still jumps from 15 per cent to 30 per cent.

Overall, older people are being ‘encouraged’ to work longer and save more to support their retirement.

Judy Higgins, the general manager of the Older Workers job board, says that this means hard times ahead for some older Australians and women in particular.

“Older women reportedly have, on average, half the amount of super of males the same age,” she says.

“They earn less and are more likely to have significant gaps in employment due to childbirth, parenting or later in life caring duties.”

The only support program proposed in the Federal Budget is the introduction of the Restart programme, which offers employers up to $10,000 to employ an older worker. The payments are staged over two years and the person being employed must have been on benefits for more than six months.

The Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey says that this will help 32,000 older workers back into employment.

Yet Higgins disagrees.

“Previous incentive payments of these types have had little to no affect,” she says.

“We think the government has missed the mark with the Restart incentive, if the objective is to increase the number of older jobseekers being employed.”

This budget is about getting people to work longer and increase their own superannuation balances before retirement. Older workers in fulltime employment may be able to save more, but those who are not working and who do not have adequate super balances face a difficult future.

With falling support from government in managing the cost of living and healthcare, older workers will have to make up the difference from their earnings or superannuation, or start drawing against their assets earlier.


Source:  The Living Well Navigator


AUSTRALIA is not producing enough quality jobs to keep up with population increases and the problem is getting worse, a new report shows.

The OECD report released on Tuesday reveals unless economic growth rises the jobs market will be filled with low paying jobs.

“The current growth trajectory, if unchanged, will not create enough quality jobs — give rising to the risk that the jobs gap will remain substantial,” the report says.

“Underemployment and informal employment will rise and sluggish growth in wages and incomes will continue to place downward pressure on consumption, living standards and global aggregate demand.”

The report also reveals that the gap between the highest paid and lowest paid workers was also widening.

The warning comes as employment ministers from G20 countries are meeting in Melbourne this week to discuss the global employment outlook.

The group’s membership includes Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and South East Asian and South American countries.

Australian Employment Minister Eric Abetz, US secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Britain’s Minister of State for Employment Esther McVey, who are in Melbourne for the meeting, all argued economic growth must continue to rise.

Mr Abetz said he expected jobs growth in agriculture, mining, services and aged care sectors.

“Business as usual will continue to see that jobs gap, that is in nobody’s interest, economic or socially,” he said.

He said free trade agreements with South Korea and reducing red tape would create jobs.

Tom Perez, US secretary of labor, said higher economic growth would create jobs.

“It’s undeniable one of our challenges in the US and across the G20 is to pick up the pace of growth,” he said.

“We are debating how we stimulate consumption… transportation infrastructure investments which are very real issues. Those not only address critical infrastructure, they create good middle class jobs.”

He said cyber security was an emerging sector.

Ms McVey said youth unemployment was dropping in the UK and that schools needed to teach subjects that led to jobs, particularly in science.

She said the private sector had picked up 2 million jobs in Britain since 2010.

“We really needed to look at rebalancing the economy — jobs right across the board,” she said.

Posted at 8:59am Monday 08 Sep, 2014 | By Merle Foster

Removing the stigma surrounding employing older people and making businesses realise the ageing population’s enormous opportunity is the aim of a city forum this month.

Tauranga’s older residents and business people are encouraged to attend the Older Workforce Forum, hosted by Age Concern Tauranga and Chamber of Commerce.

Mitre 10 MEGA Tauranga team members Noel Meredith, 70, Dave Watson, 71, and Dave Semple, 74, with general manager Wayne Mansell. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

Age Concern fundraising manager Michael Vujnovich says the forum will discuss the ‘why, how and spin-offs’ of workforce generation change.

“We’re trying to raise people’s awareness of the issue of an ageing workforce but enable them to realise there is an enormous opportunity here.

“If we continue with our old, outdated model of what it means to be getting old we’ll continue to fail to address the issues that confront older people and fail to address opportunities they present to employers and society as a whole.”

Guest speakerElders Forum chair Max Lewis says “65 is the new 45”. He believes older workers have as many benefits as others, just different.

“We need to lift the perception of age as being a positive. We’ve got to stop this perceived bias. We have so many talented people, and they want to be working.”

“If you can get them working where their strengths are, they can be offering advice and knowledge to younger staff, you’re getting 30 years of knowledge and experience.”

Max also sees Tauranga as the pace-setter for the whole country.

Mega Mitre 10 Tauranga general manager Wayne Mansell knows the benefits of older workers and will talk about his company’s diversity-friendly policies in action.

“The reason we look at employing people a bit older is simply experience – they have the knowledge and they also have the integrity of the work ethic.

“We have a number of retiree plumber and builders who’ve worked in the building game in the past and are looking to continue to stay in the workforce – and we’re happy to oblige.”

Wayne says older staff are also more flexible.

“They’re willing part-time or full-time hours, extra days don’t have issues around working weekends.”

An open floor discussion with the speaker panel will finish the forum on Thursday, September 18 from 8.30am-2.30pm at Mt Club, Totara St, Mount Maunganui.

– See more at:

Everald Compton launching the blueprint at the National Press Club

Undeterred by the Federal Government axing it last November, the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing launched its Blueprint for an Ageing Australia on Wednesday, calling for wide-ranging policy changes in areas from retirement to technology.

Established by the previous Labor government, the panel was disbanded by the Abbott Government in November – months before it was to complete its blueprint. At the time, the panel’s chair, Everald Compton, appealed via Australian Ageing Agenda for support from organisations so it could complete its work. In February Per Capita announced its involvement and a campaign to raise the necessary funds to sustain the panel. Subsequently, National Seniors and National Australia Bank joined the cause.

The resulting blueprint is the product of extensive public consultations and discussions.

The document puts forward recommendations in a range of areas from housing and retirement to technology and workforce.

Specifically, it has called for:

  • A government Minister for Ageing, reporting to the Prime Minister
  • A Seniors Enterprise Institute, to facilitate entrepreneurialism and volunteering
  • Mandating the study of gerontology in all undergraduate healthcare courses
  • Increasing internet access for seniors; providing ICT training; and a national telehealth strategy
  • Design standards for an ageing population; and housing bonds for rentals

The panel called for new investment by federal education and employment departments, and vocational education and training (VET) providers, specifically TAFE colleges, for “re-skilling and workplace transitions” for workers aged over 50.

The blueprint also proposed that banks organise a Golden Givers Campaign over the next decade “by encouraging their clients to establish charitable trusts and foundations and offering them management services in investing and distributing funds.”

Elsewhere, it proposed that all three levels of government should “plan to vastly upgrade transport services by train and bus so that the use of public transport becomes the preferred mode of travel for seniors.”

Along with Mr Compton, the panel consisted of Helen Brady, National Australia Bank; David Hetherington, Per Capita; Professor Brian Howe; Professor Gill Lewin; Michael O’Neill, National Seniors; and, Neville Roach.

The Blueprint for an Ageing Australia was launched at the National Press Club on Wednesday.


Adjunct Professor John Kelly, CEO, Aged & Community Services Australia, said the blueprint was a welcome addition to the conversation Australians needed to have about ageing and that Mr Compton and his fellow members of the Advisory Panel on Ageing should be congratulated on their leadership in continuing the work after funding was discontinued.

“There are many contributions Australians can make to their community and their nation throughout the whole of their life and we need to consider how best to enable people to live as productively and safely as possible and with the respect they deserve. The role played by aged care providers is an integral part of this. Governments must think beyond election cycles to ensure this happens,” Prof Kelly said.

Ian Yates, chief executive, COTA Australia highlighted the paper’s calls for a retirement incomes strategy comprehensive of all taxation, superannuation, transfer system and employment issues and renewed requests for the Federal Government to convene an independent retirement incomes review.

“Such papers continue to be produced due to the vacuum in quality policy discussion that exists at the federal government level on these important issues. Instead we have policy decisions being made in isolation, without proper consideration of their broader and interconnected impact or how they will or will not meet the future needs of the whole of Australia,” Mr Yates said.

Sarah Saunders, acting chief executive, National Seniors, said the project was refreshing in turning the rhetoric around and casting ageing as something positive.

“The document highlights that the $8 trillion spent by the over-60s globally will, by 2020, almost double to $15 trillion. If Australia embraces the business of ageing, and does it well, the potential to export and capitalize on our knowledge in this area is huge,” Ms Saunders said.

Patrick Reid, CEO, Leading Age Services Australia, said the need for a national conversation on ageing and intergenerational engagement was long overdue.

“Adoption of this blueprint will require some brave policy decisions from government,” Mr Reid said.

Mr Reid said he was looking forward to hearing more on the topic from Mr Compton at LASA’s National Congress in October.

The Federal Opposition also welcomed the blueprint and in a joint press release from shadow minister for ageing Shayne Neumann and shadow parliamentary secretary for aged care Helen Polley said that senior Australians were not a burden.

Labor will continue to work together with the panel members, seniors peak organisations, experts and senior Australians towards an Australia that valued senior Australians and gave them the support, certainty and opportunities they deserved, it said.

Related AAA coverage: ‘The hard work now begins’ writes Everald Compton

Data reveals the Liverpool city region lags behind much of the UK when it comes to taking on  50 to 64-year-olds

Older works can be an asset in the workplace if only more employers were prepared to give them the opportunity

Merseyside’s local authority areas have some of the worst rates of employment of older workers in Britain.

According to a recently published table, the proportion of 50 to 64-year-olds in employment in Liverpool is 55.7%, ranking it a lowly 362nd out of the 378 local authority areas in the study.

All of Merseyside’s other local authority areas also appear in the bottom third of the table published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Older workers in St Helens and Knowsley don’t fare much better than Liverpool, with only 57.7% and 58.6% respectively in work. Wirral’s rate is 63.3% with Halton’s just behind at 63.1%, while even Sefton, Merseyside’s best performing local authority, has a rate of just 66%, placing it 241st, just above the bottom third of the table.

The region’s performance contrasts sharply with some other areas of the country where the employment rate for older people is much higher. The top of the table is dominated by local authorities in the South East of England with first place going to Watford with an older people employment rate of 89.5%. The UK average was 68.5%.

The DWP published the table as part of a Government drive to encourage poor performing regions to fill the country’s growing number of job vacancies by employing older age groups.

The Government figures suggest that there is plenty of scope for firms to tap into this segment of the market. There are around 2.9m people aged between 50 and state pension age out of work. Around 40.8% of over-50s on Jobseeker’s Allowance have been claiming for 12 months or more, substantially higher than the overall rate of 30.2%. Over half have already stopped working before they reach state pension age.

It’s not just employers who would benefit. With life expectancy rising, helping the over-50s to stay in and get back into work also has a key role to play in enhancing people’s standard of living in retirement.

By working one year longer, an average earner could boost their pension pot by around £4,500, in addition to earning an extra year’s salary. Conversely, a worker retiring 10 years early could see their pension pot shrink by a third.

Research conducted by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research also shows the wider economic benefit of everyone working one year longer, saying the UK’s GDP would increase by 1% (equivalent to £16bn).

Campaigners say demographic changes present major opportunities for employers to harness the benefits of recruiting older staff, but also pose a serious threat to businesses which continue to believe they can rely solely on a young workforce.

In the next 10 years, there will be 700,000 fewer people aged 16 to 49 in the UK labour market but 3.7m more aged between 50 and state pension age.

Chris Ball, chief executive of The Age and Employment Network
Chris Ball, chief executive of The Age and Employment Network

According to Chris Ball, chief executive of The Age and Employment Network (TAEN), factors that could contribute to the city region’s poor performance include old fashioned attitudes that cause some employers to think older people have poor IT skills and are less adaptable. Other factors include wear and tear on industrial workers and poor health. Mr Ball, 69, will be attending an older worker’s fringe event at next week’s Trade Union Congress in Liverpool.

He told ECHO Business it was time to scotch the stereotypes, saying: “I didn’t learn to type till I was 50, now I type at 40 odd words a minute and use all sorts of software programmes. Old dogs can learn new tricks.

“There are employers who do discriminate. They operate on the basis of stereotypes. Stereotypes are the lazy man’s way of sorting people. They are invalid.”

Another invalid argument that TAEN seeks to challenge is the idea that it’s just the young who deserve a chance to find a job.

Mr Ball said: “People are beginning to see through that argument. It is economically illiterate: it’s the lump of labour fallacy.

“The idea that there is a fixed quantum of jobs in the economy is wrong – it just doesn’t work that way. If more older people are in work they create more jobs for others.

“We also need to think creatively about inter-generational knowledge to prevent organisational ageing when, for one reason or another, firms are not introducing new approaches or passing on knowledge acquired over the years which often disappears when key individuals leave the organisation.”

Another contributory factor is that older people are less prepared to put up with tedium. He said: “A lot of jobs are dull, boring, routine and repetitive. People feel entitled to retire from these jobs and can’t wait for it when they get to a certain age.”

Dr Ros Altmann, the Government’s recently appointed business champion for older workers, said: “Older workers have a huge amount to offer any workforce. They generally have unrivalled life and work experience, often boast a broad range of skills and, according to many employers I’ve spoken to, tend to display great attitude and work ethic.

“We need to get rid of the traditional stereotype which suggests that people over 50 are too old to learn or change and are expected not to work, even if they want to. There can be a world of opportunities for older workers which can enrich their lives and also boost our economy.”

It’s time to open your mind about ageing. Reshape attitudes, challenge stereotypes and celebrate the positives of the world’s ageing population with our handy infographic.

We’re living longer, we’re healthier and more active and the majority of us are continuing to live independently and contribute to the economy and society well into our third act.

Just ask Mick Jagger, 71, and Judi Dench, 79. Bust those stereotypes on ageing with these facts and figures.


Over the past 10 years, womens’ life expectancy has increased 33%, men by 28%.


Of Australians aged 55+ intend to beself-funded in retirement


Of Australians aged 65+ live independently.


Was contributed annually by Australians aged 65+ in unpaid caring and voluntary work


Will be the estimated age of over12,000 Australians by 2020.


Of Australians aged 55+ take fewer sick days than those aged 24-34.


Of Australians aged 55+ drive and have a licence.


Source  Living Well Navigator

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Sydney Centenarian Study, University of NSW, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Human Rights Commission.
 The Drum, 2 Septembert 2014

Emily Millane, Research Fellow
The Drum Unleashed, 2 September 2014

Our retirement income system is now skewed so heavily towards the wealthy in our society that we’re not just at risk of going nowhere, we risk going backwards, writes Emily Millane.It’s always slightly unnerving when the airline you’re flying with says it needs to take some time to redistribute the weight on the aircraft before you take off. Visions of a plane dragging one wing along the runway with sparks flying everywhere tend to ensue.

The fact is, the distribution of an aircraft’s weight needs to be calibrated in such a way that the thing can get off the ground, and back onto it, safely. And so it is with our tax and transfer system.

Distribute it right and you’re off; get the distribution wrong and society is on a fast track to nowhere.

Per Capita’s recent report, The Entitlement of Age, argues that, together, increasing longevity and rising inequality are making Australia’s retirement income system unsustainable. The structure of the system, combined with the distribution of benefits, is skewed so heavily towards the wealthy in our society that we’re not just at risk of going nowhere, we risk going backwards.

Notwithstanding differences as a result of race, education and socio-economic status, on average Australians have very high life expectancies. Indigenous Australians are the notable exception to this average

Per Capita’s findings show that we are living longer than previously estimated, largely as a result of declining mortality rates. We need to plan for longer lives, and we need incomes to pay for them.

The current system will not deliver retirement security, even if Australians work until they are 70. Some Australians will move into older age well funded but women, the low-paid and those in insecure work will not.

Per Capita’s research, using four different scenarios, shows that a woman retiring in 2049 who has children and works a mix of full-time and part-time hours will have only 60 per cent of the superannuation balance of a man the same age as her, a deficit of $358,000.

The way in which superannuation is taxed compounds the income insecurity faced by vulnerable groups. The concessional rate of tax on superannuation income relative to ordinary income, known as “superannuation tax concessions”, favours those with higher incomes.

If the Government is successful in removing the Low Income Superannuation Contribution, people on low incomes will pay more on their superannuation contributions than they do on ordinary income.

More than 50 per cent of the superannuation tax concessions go to the wealthiest 20 per cent Australians. At the same time, Per Capita’s annual tax survey showed that 42 per cent of people on incomes of $200,000 and above consider that the best way to pay for longer lives is through further superannuation tax concessions.

As detailed by the ACTU recently, the IMF has found that Australia foregoes more through tax expenditures than all other advanced economies it analysed. The largest areas of expenditure are housing and superannuation tax concessions.

What does all of this tell us? It tells us that people on the highest incomes have come to see the beneficial tax treatment of their superannuation as an entitlement. It tells us that any effort to change the shape of tax on superannuation to make it fairer will require political courage. It also tells us that change is necessary.

The Government’s proposed alterations to the age pension, particularly in respect of indexation, will mean that it does not provide a safety net from poverty. It is those same groups that are disadvantaged by the superannuation system that will face further financial precariousness as a result of these changes – the women, the low-paid and those engaged in insecure work.

Australia’s spending on the age pension is going up; no one is arguing with that. However, as the Treasurer found out with his comments in respect of the fuel excise, it’s the proportion of income that matters. Australia spends about 3.5 per cent of its GDP on the age pension compared with an average spend by other wealthy counties of 7.8 per cent of GDP.

So what of it? What does it matter that some people will have overseas holidays and theatre shows to look forward to in later life, while others will sit at home watching daytime TV? Or that some people will see medical specialists while others will put off seeing the GP?

It matters because these questions go to the issue of human dignity. Australians are entitled to incomes sufficient for a dignified life.

More broadly, these questions go to the issue of what sort of society we understand Australia to be. Whether we are all on this journey together, or whether it is OK that there is an increasing distance between people in economy, and the class of people who haven’t seen the back of a plane in years.