Posts Tagged “jobs for over 50”

A new generation of retirees is heading back to work. Here’s some advice on how to snag one of those encore jobs

Encore! Encore! One more time.

That’s what many retired Canadians want to do: Go back to work, try something new, perhaps with fewer hours and less pay, but find a way to keep active, stay engaged and get paid for it.

Longevity is rising, we’re healthier and so the traditional notion of retirement has faded. Some want to work because they have to and others because they want to.

But if our needs are changing, our employers aren’t keeping up with the times, says Adina Lebo, chair of the downtown Toronto chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP). Attitudes in the workplace are geared to forcing older workers out of full-time work and few employers have mechanisms to offer a transition to part-time work.

“The workforce is built to push people out at 65,” says Lebo, who joined CARP four years ago after a 30-year career in the film and TV industry. “While people are looking for a continuation of their career, or a way to apply their skills in a new area, the doors are often closed.”

CARP sponsored a job fair in Toronto last year to link employers with 50+ candidates. There was plenty of interest from companies with franchising and sales opportunities. The former requires an investment on your part and the latter uses your networks to sell products or services.

“There’s no ageism in sales,” says Lebo. “It’s on commission, so there’s no risk to the employer. They use you and your community to sell, so that was wide open.”

There are jobs out there for older works, but competition is stiff. For many, the first step is dusting off their resumes and polishing rusty interview skills.

Marie Bountrogianni, a former Ontario cabinet minister and currently Dean of the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, has some advice. Here are her five top job hunting tips for older workers.

Three things to avoid in an interview:

Talking about your age: “This is always tricky,” says Bountrogianni, who has a Ph.D. in education and was chief psychologist for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board before entering politics.

“Employers are not allowed to ask about your age, but they often hint at it. Talk around your age in constructive ways. [For example,] you can indicate that because you no longer have little children you have a lot of flexibility around scheduling.

Tipping your tech hand: “Be careful. Don’t just say you use Facebook and Twitter. Show how you have used social media to increase sales, or promote an event, so they won’t think you are on it all the time.”

Don’t say, I’m ready for a change: “While it may be very true, it sounds like you are bored, and have grown stale in your current job,” Bountrogiann says.

Two ways to spruce up your resume:

Age proof it: Don’t go back to the beginning of your career. Choose the experiences that relate to the job you are applying for. Do not put in specific dates for jobs or schooling.

Show what you have done: Use a functional, rather than chronological resume, so that you can bundle your experiences without dating them and relate skills to the job advertised.

Bountrogianni says employers want to know you’re not planning to coast at their expense.

They also want to know you are still current, so she advises taking courses in your field of interest and keeping up to date. Always have questions in an interview, because employers want you to be interested in them and about their job.

Bountrogianni is Ontario’s representative on Skills Connect Inc., a national non-profit organization founded by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce in 2010. It receives government funding and owns ThirdQuarter, a national employment recruiter for people aged 45 and over. More agencies are working with older adults, including The Challenge Factory, which has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa.

The Chang School offers programs of interest to 50+ workers. Wednesday, Bountrogianni is hosting a free breakfast between 8:30 and 10:30 as part of a panel discussion on aging in the workforce. It is being held at Heaslip House, 7th Floor, 297 Victoria Street.

Toronto Star

Date   chael Emerson

Jobs are growing at a faster rate for baby boomers, and Australians in their twilight years, than for youth and young adults.

These surprising statistics are revealed in a study conducted for Fairfax Media.

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, Australian jobs have grown steadily, with 870,000 jobs added to the economy. However, the growth among lifestage segments has been varied. This has led to significant attitudinal changes among workers to employment, especially among the younger Gen Z (teens) and Gen Y (young adults) segments. 

As the chart shows, among full time jobs, Gen Z and Gen Y, have lost employment since 2008Gen Z has lost 48,000 jobs whereas for Gen Y the market has shrunk by 54,000 jobs, according to labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, modelled by EMDA, a business solution company, for Fairfax Media.

So what’s happened?

In any economic downturn, the young and least experienced suffer the most. Before the global crisis, Gen Z and Gen Y were known to be demanding. They were used to jobs being plentiful and so could pick and choose. Loyalty to an employer was an old-fashioned idea to them.

In the more difficult job market since 2008, there have been profound changes in attitudes, such as  delivering value to employers and concerns over the security of employment have become more prominent.

Unemployment among the younger segments is also the highest in the workforce. Among Gen Z it’s three times the average than for the rest of the workforce.

Among Gen Z there are sub-segments, which signal extremely concerning employment outcomes. Among indigenous Gen Z, unemployment rates are just over 30 per cent and among Gen Z new arrivals to Australia the rate is 42 per cent, according to census data.

Lack of education and work-related skills are major barriers to employment for these segments, and if unemployed for six months or more, it’s hard to get them into the workforce. Consequently, entrenched unemployment with its social and financial problems for the individual and society become the norm.

Education remains a key for a successful entry to the workforce.

For baby boomers, the job market has continued to be one of steady growth, with 240,000 full-time jobs added for this segment since 2008. Their experience and skills have kept them in good stead.

The real surprise is the growth in twilight careers (workers aged 63 or more). Although the smallest segment of the workforce, there are now 580,000 twilight workers employed, which is only slightly less than Gen Z (681,000). For this segment, 79,000 full-time jobs have been created since 2008. Their lifetime of work skills, their loyalty and reliability is increasingly appreciated by employers.

There is still some resistance to employing older workers, although this attitude is gradually changing.  This is good for twilight workers and the economy overall, but the downside could be there are fewer older Australians available to provide care for their grandkids. The numbers are significant: according to the census about 350,000 Australians over the age of 63 cared for other children, so more twilight workers in the paid workforce means less time available for child care duties. For Generation X parents, this can be a significant issue as one important factor which contributes to labour market participation among parents in the Gen X lifestage is access to child care.

Michael Emerson, is an economist and director of Economic and Market Development Advisors, EMDA. emda.com.au.

Source:  The Age

Date September 17, 2014 
  • Judith Ireland
Check-up: Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan has said older employees should have routine career check-ups much like they have health check-ups.

Check-up: Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan has said older employees should have routine career check-ups much like they have health check-ups. Photo: Andrew Quilty (AFR)

Australians approaching their 50s should have routine “career check-ups” to prevent unemployment as they get older, just as they would have a regular health check-up with their doctor, Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan says.

In a bid to address Australia’s ageing population and unemployment among 50 and 60-somethings, Ms Ryan said there should be a nationally co-ordinated approach to help everyone at midlife “check where they are and change direction if they need to”.

Ms Ryan will tell the National Press Club on Wednesday that TAFE colleges should be at the centre of the plan where workers would be given a skills analysis and advice about what sort of job they could expect to do for the following 20 years, particularly if they are in a declining industry, physically unable to continue their existing job or burnt out.

“This is not a crisis management plan,” she will say. “It is a preventative approach that would have older people recharging and moving smoothly to the next stage of employment.”

In her address, Ms Ryan will also announce that she has asked Roy Morgan to conduct the first ever national prevalence study of age discrimination in the workplace. The survey will begin in coming weeks, with initial results in December and a full report in March.

“I do not wish to pre-empt its results; my guess however, is it will signal an urgent and massive challenge,” Ms Ryan will say.

She will tell the Press Club there are millions of people over 55 who want a job but cannot get one: “older people are more likely to be unemployed long term than any other group”.

She will also note that more than 50 per cent of age discrimination complaints made to the Australian Human Rights Commission relate to employment.

The Age Discrimination Commissioner will discuss the negative assumptions that younger people – particularly those under 35 – have about older workers. She will argue that the workforce needs to move away from a model that “seeks and favours only the youthful, presumed ‘hungry’ and ‘high energy’ dynamos”.

“The new model should include all skilled and high energy candidates, regardless of how many birthdays they have chalked up.”

Ms Ryan, who was education minister under the Hawke government, will also argue for greater flexibility in the job market. “All employers need to ditch assumptions that job flexibility is an aberration to be reluctantly granted only to women returning from maternity leave.”

Ms Ryan said those in their 50s and 60s could be working at close to the levels of those in their 30s and 40s.

“It makes serious economic sense, as well as common sense, to harness this human capital.”

Modelling by Deloitte Access Economics for the Human Rights Commission shows that a 3 per cent increase in workforce participation for workers over 55 – beyond an already expected 2.7 per cent by 2024-25 – would contribute an extra $33 billion to Australia’s GDP.

This comes as the government seeks to increase the pension age to 70 by 2035 to make welfare spending “sustainable”. The previous Labor government already increased it from 65 to 67 by 2023.

Source:  SMH

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.

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.

Reaction

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.

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

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

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Of Australians aged 65+ live independently.

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

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

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

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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 Government’s decision to delay increases in the superannuation guarantee might be just the first salvo against workers, warns Bill Watson.

Clive Palmer

Superannuation remains the plaything of politicians.

Superannuation remains the plaything of politicians and there’s no sign that this will change in future.

The latest evidence is the deal between the Federal Government and the Palmer United Party to delay the 12 per cent target for superannuation contributions for seven years to 2025.

• Keating lashes Abbott over super
• Tax axed ‘for the nation’

It reminds Australian workers and retirees that, even three decades after the introduction of occupational superannuation, they have no certainty or security over their retirement savings.

Worryingly, there are more signs that it will become even harder for workers to get their hands on their super.

Money superannuation

The recently announced increase of retirement age to 70 for workers born after 1965 gives Australia the world’s highest official retirement age.

It is hard to envisage Canberra, in future, not increasing the age at which workers can access their super. Currently, workers can retire once they’ve reached preservation age, receiving their super tax free in an allocated pension or for most workers a tax free, lump sum.

You can almost hear the Treasurer saying, “we’ve got a mismatch here – the retirement age is 70 but the preservation age for super is 60 – so today to protect the Budget, I’m announcing an increase in preservation age to 70.”

For many workers in physically demanding occupations, being able to work to 70 is just not possible and many unemployed people over 50 know that the jobs just aren’t there.

Increasing the preservation age is just not fair. All it will do, is force workers onto social security until they reach retirement age.

Even more worrying is the kite-flying by the Financial Services Council. The FSC represents banks and the profit superannuation sector and is encouraging a debate about denying workers from taking their lump sums upon retirement and instead forcing them to take a pension.

This debate provides Canberra with an opportunity to force workers to take a pension rather than a lump sum, again with the rationale of protecting the Budget and delivering a win to Australia’s banking sector.

Denying retirees the option of a lump sum and forcing them into pension or annuity products better serves banks than the interests of working people, as banks would be guaranteed an annuity-like income from people’s retirement savings.

Banks – through their distribution networks, conflicted remuneration arrangements and sale of products disguised as financial advice – have been very successful in attracting a disproportionate share of people’s retirement savings.

You have to ask, why should retirees have their income managed by those who have failed to demonstrate that they are able act in their clients’ and customers’ best interests?

There are currently very real tax incentives to encourage people to keep their retirement savings within the system.

Many superannuation fund members did not have the privilege of a university education, or the ability to amass significant retirement savings.

Proposals to force workers to take lump sums is tantamount to income management. It does not consider the implications for retirees – particularly those on lower than average incomes prior to retirement.

What we know is that many of our members don’t have the spare cash to prepare for retirement by paying down debts, repairing their houses and acquiring replacement white goods and cars. Accessing their super on retirement to do these things allows for a comfortable retirement.

The myth that working people waste their super on luxuries such as trips and boats is just that. There is no evidence to support this claim.

If Canberra wants to protect the Budget then meaningful reforms to the retirement system to sustain the tax base would include:

• Eliminating concessional treatment of superannuation contributions for people who have more than seven times the annual non-concessional contribution amount (presently $180,000) in their superannuation

• Taxing earnings on retirement accounts for any earnings on superannuation balances above this seven times amount

What Canberra should not do is force workers to wait until they are 70 to get their super and then only get it in the form of a pension.

Bill Watson is Chief Executive Officer of First Super, which is a shareholder in The New Daily

 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.

Brent Peppercorn and his grandmother Linda Goldsmith, at right, who have been touring NSW with the Living Well Navigator meet Wollongong's Susan Barnett. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Brent Peppercorn and his grandmother Linda Goldsmith, at right, who have been touring NSW with the Living Well Navigator meet Wollongong’s Susan Barnett.

Almost half of NSW baby boomers have had to face age discrimination, according to an NRMA survey.

The survey was carried out as part of the research into a new website – Living Well Navigator – directed at the over 50s.

Forty per cent of the respondents said they have experienced age discrimination themselves or knew of someone who had.

In addition, 37 per cent of people over 50 have little confidence they would be treated fairly in a job interview.

Peter Khoury from the NRMA said this was concerning, especially given the federal government’s plan to push back the retirement age to 70.

Mr Khoury said businesses needed to adjust to the realities that come with the ageing baby boomer population.

“There’s a lot of debate about the working age being extended, which means a lot of Australian companies need to be prepared for the fact that their workforce is going to be older than it used to be,” Mr Khoury said.

With more than half of the NRMA’s membership over the age of 50, the Navigator site aims to provide support for those looking to get back into the workforce.

“The Living Well Navigator site assists older workers by providing information on how to get jobs and volunteering information as well as hosting a jobs board to connect older workers with age-friendly employers,” said NRMA local director Michael Tynan.

“The site aims to bust common myths and stereotypes on ageing. Those north of 50 have comprehensive knowledge, are highly skilled, active and make valuable contributions to our society.”

The website provides a wide range of information for the over-50s – including work, health, travel and supported and independent living.

Source:  Illawarra Mercury