Posts Tagged “mature age employment”

Younger workers in the early years of their career are expecting to retire at the age of 52 – 15 years before the federal government has decided they should stop working.

Across all age groups, the expectation of having a job for life no longer exists for more than two thirds of Australian workers, a new national survey has found.

Deloitte Access Economics surveyed 1400 people around the country across a variety of professions and ages and warned that growing confidence in younger generations needs to be balanced with more realistic expectations.

The report says an increase in confidence after the global financial crisis may be “creating unrealistic expectations”, particularly in younger people with less than five years’ experience in the workforce.

“Our survey shows that, on average, early career employees think they will retire at the age of 52,” the Deloitte report says.

“Given the increasing costs of retirement, the smaller workforce and pressure on government budgets, this seems untenable. Policy makers may need to adjust the expectations of younger workers to this reality.”

More than half younger workers also believe their qualifications are not very relevant to their work.

But the survey also found higher education qualifications were increasingly transferable. About 40 per cent of university education employees have a degree outside their primary areas of work.

The study, Future of Work: How can we adapt to survive and thrive?, found that 60 per cent of people surveyed expect to change roles or industries in the next 10 years. And 67 per cent expect their existing job will no longer exist, or require a new skills set, within 15 years.

Almost one third of employees said changes in technology are most likely to drive job change.

Two in five said they were uncertain or nervous about their employment future, with most feeling positive or excited about change in their careers.

Of those looking to change jobs in the next 10 years, three in five expect to work in a different industry or role.

“A job for life just doesn’t have a place in our modern society,” declared Lee White, chief executive officer of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, which commissioned the report.

“Each of use needs to recognise that our skills set, if left un-nurtured, will quickly become obsolete.

“Individuals need to ask themselves what skills they’ll need to succeed in an automated society.”

Mr White also questioned whether school curriculums were up to the task of teaching “transferable skills and a different mindset about the future world of work”.

Michael Warren, the national training manager for Landscape Solutions in Sydney is among employers taking the re-skilling of workers into its own hands with in-house training in how to use the latest in technology. Employee Paul Scurfield was recently trained in how to use technologically advanced plant equipment for commercial landscaping.

“Generic training about plant equipment is available but we had to retrain our operators to use the new technology in the specific context of commercial landscaping,” Mr Warren said.

The new survey also found that the development of specialist versus generalist skills varied from industry to industry.

However, a generalist set of skills may be more useful in a rapidly changing labour market.

“The question then becomes: should these generalist skills be emphasised more in the formal education system, or can they be imparted in the workplace?,” the Deloitte report says.

“Such questions and the nature of skills development more broadly will become an increasingly important consideration for employees in the future as the interaction between skills, employment and careers becomes more fluid.”
Source: The Age

One-third of Australian pensioners live in poverty, according to a report by the OECD, Photo: Greg Newington

More than one-third of Australian pensioners are living below the poverty line, making the country among the worst performers in the world for the financial security of older people.

The findings of the OECD report, Pensions at a Glance 2015, compared Australia to 33 other countries.

Australia was ranked second lowest on social equity, with 36 per cent of pensioners living below the poverty line, which the report defined as half the relevant country’s median household income.

Australian pensioners fared better than their counterparts in South Korea, where 50 per cent live below the poverty line but performed poorly against the OECD average of 12.6 per cent.

The report, released last month, found the Australian government contributes less to old-age benefits than other OECD countries. The Australian government spends 3.5 per cent of GDP on the pension, below the OECD average of 7.9 per cent.

The findings are backed up by the Global Age Watch Index 2015 report card which rates countries by how well their older populations are faring.

It ranked Australia lowest in its region on income security, due to the high rate of old age poverty and pension coverage which is below the regional average.

Paul Versteege​, senior research and advocacy adviser with the Combined Pensioner and Superannuants Association, said the base Australian pension rate was low compared to median household incomes.

“There are huge discrepancies among retirees in various countries,” he said.

“In Australia there is quite a large group that has to subsist on the age pension as its only source of income. In spite of pension reform and recent increases to the pension, the base pension is still quite low for singles.”

The annual payment for a single person is about $22,000 and $34,000 for a couple, with 2.25 million Australians claiming the pension.

Council on the Ageing chief executive Ian Yates said the report challenged perceptions that the entitlement was too high.

“Claims that the age pension is somehow too extravagant and unsustainable do not bear out,” he said.

“We have always argued for progressive improvements to the pension but at the moment an increase to the pension is highly unlikely and more focus ought to go towards building superannuation contributions.”

Chief executive of Vision Super Stephen Rowe said he was “staggered” by the findings of the OECD report, saying it painted a bleak picture for many older Australians.

“Are we generous enough with the pension? I don’t think so.”

He said that Australians retiring now have not received the full benefit of compulsory superannuation contributions, introduced in 1992, but were grappling with rising living costs.

“The basic cost of living in Australia is quite high, compared with  some other OECD countries,” Mr Rowe said.

Chief executive of National Seniors Michael O’Neill said the pension had gone backwards in real terms and many older people had not accumulated enough superannuation to supplement the benefit.

“In terms of sustainability, the report confirms that Australia spends substantially less than the OECD average on pensions,” he said.

“In fact, our pension spend has dropped and plateaued since 2000. Against other countries, our proportion of pensioners living below the poverty line is startling.”

Source: TheAge

The Age older workers


A federal government program designed to get older Australians back into work has been branded a dismal failure, with only 1700 people joining the scheme meant to benefit 32,000.

Department of Employment documents reveal just 1735 people took advantage of the Restart scheme in its first year of operation – about 5 per cent of the government’s target.

Announced with much fanfare in the 2014 budget, the program provides a wage subsidy of up to $10,000 to employers who give jobs to people aged over 50 who have been unemployed for more than six months.

Labor said the program is clearly missing the mark. Advertisement “It’s the government’s program that needs a restart as it’s proving to be a dismal failure,” opposition spokesman Brendan O’Connor​ said. “No amount of rhetorical flourish from the Prime Minister can hide the real reason the program doesn’t work – there simply are not the jobs available.”

But Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the government remains “firmly committed” to the program, which is part of a $1 billion investment to establish a single wage subsidy pool.

She said the program has now helped a total of 2500 mature-age workers, including those helped since July 1. “Restart is a demand-driven programme and the government budgeted for a maximum uptake of 32,000,” she said.

Nonetheless, Ms Cash has announced changes designed to improve uptake. The subsidy will now be paid over 12 months rather than 24 and other measures have been taken to reduce complexity and red tape.

Older workers face significant barriers to entering the workforce. On average, they spend 61 weeks on the unemployment queue, compared to 37 weeks for all other people.

“That is why Restart was developed, to give an added incentive to employers to hire a mature-age worker,” Ms Cash said. Both major parties have long struggled to encourage employers to hire mature-age Australians. Indeed, just 230 employers took advantage of a $1000 annual subsidy under the two-year life of the Rudd/Gillard government’s Experience+Jobs Bonus scheme, which was also designed to get over 50s into work. It was meant to benefit up to 10,000 employers.

Source: The Age/Adam Gartrell

Our population is getting older. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of people aged between 50 and State Pension age will rise by almost four million, while the numbers aged 16 to 49 will fall – and amazingly, one in three babies born today is expected to live to 100.  It is, of course, good news that most people can expect to live much longer.

And the even better news is that most of the increasing numbers of older people will be fitter and healthier for longer too.  This means we need to update our concept of what ‘old’ means and alter the stereotypes, particularly of older people in the workplace.

Change is already beginning as employers are starting to realise what they stand to lose if their older staff leave.  Some firms are finding ways to retain their more mature workers, making it easier for them to keep on working in later life.  I would urge all employers to take this issue seriously.  If they don’t, they risk losing a large chunk of their workforce – and valuable skills in coming years.

Enabling those who want to work longer has the power to make British businesses more competitive and increase our country’s economic activity significantly.

Many older people want to keep working. Not only can this benefit their income and general wellbeing, it could also provide a significant boost to their pensions, as well as to the economy.

Since 2011, the Government has outlawed forced retirement at age 65.  This has allowed record numbers to stay in work – more than 1million over 65s are now choosing to keep working.

Looking to the future

Since my report earlier this year ‘A New Vision for Older Workers: Retain, Retrain, Recruit’, when I was the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, progress has been made.

Numerous employers have written to tell me  what they are doing to break the age barriers, including committing to mid-life career reviews for their workforce and providing advice to line-managers on how to support their female staff during the menopause. And there are many more areas that employers are exploring.  For example, as they facilitate childcare needs for younger workers, they are considering how to support older employees who may have caring responsibilities.

In turn the Government is also increasing the support available to help older people return to work.  Too many over 50s find it too difficult to re-join the labour market in later life, but desperately want to, so we have introduced ‘Older workers’ champions in Jobcentres around the country, as well as a number of pilots to support older people into work by helping them to build their confidence and skills.

Waking up to the benefits of older workers

One firm that has certainly recognised the benefits of older workers is Barclays. It has actively promoted an apprenticeship programme to encourage a range of people to apply – including the over 50s. You may have seen their adverts on TV this week.

The Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays, Mike Thompson, wants to recruit people of all ages and backgrounds. He finds the life experience and empathy that older workers bring, often helps when speaking to customers.

I absolutely agree with this. Having a diverse workforce – including an age diverse workforce – enables a business to reflect its customer base; to better understand and better serve its whole range of clients in an ageing population.

Angela is one of the Barclays scheme’s new recruits. She is 51 and has successfully secured an apprenticeship with the firm. Before joining, she cared for her father for a number of years, but was keen to re-join the workforce. She now has the opportunity to be supported in learning new skills and progressing with her career.

She feared employers would not be interested in her, but is really enjoying her new role and enjoys being part of, what she calls, the “hustle and bustle” of working life.

Still a long way to go

But of course some employers have yet to see the light. Overcoming ageism and other barriers to encourage fuller working lives remains a priority for me.  I will continue to update you on our progress. 

As we can look forward to living longer, we need to re-think what ‘old’ looks like and dispel any myths that over 50s or over 60s will all soon be ‘past it’ – most of them can benefit from learning new skills and taking on new challenges. 

Nowadays, being over 50 does not necessarily mean you will soon stop work.  Employers who harness the talent, dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm of the over 50s will reap significant benefits in future.  Taking this issue seriously can help everyone – it is good for ourselves, our economy and our nation’s success. 

Australians must work past the traditional retirement age of 60 to balance Australia’s budget deficit and the cost of the age pension, says the Financial Services Council (FSC).

The 2015 joint FSC-CBA Older Workers Report found that with every additional year Australians work beyond the retirement age a further $200 billion is added to retirement savings.

FSC chief executive officer Sally Loane said, “For Australia to remain prosperous into the future, we’re certainly going to need this work cohort working for much longer into their lives.”

Ms Loane argued that keeping people employed for longer has a flow-on effect into the economy through taxes, productivity and higher spending.

The federal government has made it clear that our nation needs older workers as it benefits their wellbeing, the economy and the broader community, she said.

For the economy, we are going to need older people working for longer. It’s an economic imperative, it’s not negotiable anymore.

As more Australians move into the older worker category, participation rates among those aged 65 and over are projected to increase from 12.9 per cent in 2014-15 to 17.3 per cent in 2054-55. Finding ways to keep them employed is imperative.

CBA’s general manager of retirement, Nicolette Rubinsztein, pointed out that one in three older Australians said flexibility will encourage them to continue working.

Flexible working arrangements have played an important role in encouraging older workers to stay in the workforce, allowing them to maintain a healthy work/life balance and provide the freedom and financial means to attend to their personal and family needs, Ms Rubinsztein said.

The report also found that 71 per cent of older workers have no concerns about remaining at work, with 72 per cent keen to keep working regardless of their financial situation.

Australians’ attitudes towards retirement are changing, Ms Rubinsztein saidNo longer is the road to retirement such a defined path, but providing older workers with the support and flexibility to continue working until the time is right for them to retire and for reasons they choose [is essential].

Importantly, supporting older workers in the workforce is paramount to addressing our longevity challenges and maintaining the health of our retirement system.

Ms Loane pointed out that while it is beneficial for the age group to remain at work, policy needs to address issues such as preservation age and age pension age.

For a lot of people it is feasible to work into their 70s, but for a lot of people it really isn’t, Ms Loane said.

How fair is it to restrict access to superannuation for people who literally for health reasons cannot work any longer?

6 Things Older Workers Can Do to Find a Job Faster

While finding a new job is a difficult task for nearly everyone who has been unemployed, it’s especially tough on older workers, new research finds.

Half of those between the ages of 45 and 70 who’ve been unemployed during the past five years are still out of work, according to a study from AARP. Specifically, 38 percent remained unemployed, while 12 percent decided to stop working.

“As the economy continues to recover and the unemployment rate falls, there are still far too many people struggling,” Debra Whitman, AARP’s chief public policy officer, said in a statement. “Many Americans want to work as long as possible, but our survey confirms that, once unemployed, it can take a long time for older workers to find a quality job.”

Overall, 45 percent of jobseekers over the age of 55 were out of work for at least 27 weeks. The research revealed several strategies that could be contributing to the success of those who have been able to find new jobs.

The reemployed were more likely than the unemployed to contact employers directly and to reach out to their networks of contacts to find jobs. By comparison, the reemployed were less likely to rely on relatives and friends to find out about job opportunities.

Other strategies that were effective for those who found work included:

  • Using a headhunter
  • Consulting professional associations
  • Checking online job boards
  • Using online social networks
  • Visiting a public employment agency

When searching for new jobs, older workers need to be prepared to find a position in a new field. Occupational change was a common occurrence among the reemployed, with more than half having a job different from the one they had before becoming unemployed.

“Some of those ‘occupational transitions’ may have been the result of a decision to do work that was more personally rewarding and interesting,” the study’s authors wrote. “In most cases, however, the change was probably necessary to find a job.”

Finding new jobs, however, didn’t always translate into a return to normalcy for older workers.Among those who did find work, 48 percent were earning less money than in their previous jobs. The study revealed that the longer they were out of work, the larger the impact it had on their earning power. Nearly 60 percent of the reemployed who suffered a long-term spell of unemployment were earning less in their current job, compared with 41 percent who had been among the short-term unemployed.

While they may have suffered financially, not everything about their new jobs was a step backward for older workers.

Nearly half had better working conditions, while nearly 40 percent said the number of hours they worked and their shift were better. The study also discovered that roughly one-third of the reemployed said their current jobs provided more use of their experience, education and skills, more autonomy and more responsibility than their old jobs.

“As the results of this study indicate, the unemployment experiences of older workers are varied and their outcomes uncertain,” the study’s authors wrote. “More detailed analyses of the data are needed to help us better understand the plight of the older unemployed, even as the economy recovers, and to develop meaningful policies and programs to help them.”

The study was based on surveys of 2,492 people between the ages of 45 and 70 who had been unemployed at some time during the past five years.

Source  Business News Daily 

An ageing economy will be a slower and more unequal one—unless policy starts changing now

WARREN BUFFETT, who on May 3rd hosts the folksy extravaganza that is Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders’ meeting, is an icon of American capitalism (see article). At 83, he also epitomises a striking demographic trend: for highly skilled people to go on working well into what was once thought to be old age. Across the rich world, well-educated people increasingly work longer than the less-skilled. Some 65% of American men aged 62-74 with a professional degree are in the workforce, compared with 32% of men with only a high-school certificate. In the European Union the pattern is similar.

This gap is part of a deepening divide between the well-educated well-off and the unskilled poor that is slicing through all age groups. Rapid innovation has raised the incomes of the highly skilled while squeezing those of the unskilled. Those at the top are working longer hours each year than those at the bottom. And the well-qualified are extending their working lives, compared with those of less-educated people (see article). The consequences, for individuals and society, are profound.

Older, wiser and a lot of them

The world is on the cusp of a staggering rise in the number of old people, and they will live longer than ever before. Over the next 20 years the global population of those aged 65 or more will almost double, from 600m to 1.1 billion. The experience of the 20th century, when greater longevity translated into more years in retirement rather than more years at work, has persuaded many observers that this shift will lead to slower economic growth and “secular stagnation”, while the swelling ranks of pensioners will bust government budgets.

But the notion of a sharp division between the working young and the idle old misses a new trend, the growing gap between the skilled and the unskilled. Employment rates are falling among younger unskilled people, whereas older skilled folk are working longer. The divide is most extreme in America, where well-educated baby-boomers are putting off retirement while many less-skilled younger people have dropped out of the workforce.

Policy is partly responsible. Many European governments have abandoned policies that used to encourage people to retire early. Rising life expectancy, combined with the replacement of generous defined-benefit pension plans with stingier defined-contribution ones, means that even the better-off must work longer to have a comfortable retirement. But the changing nature of work also plays a big role. Pay has risen sharply for the highly educated, and those people continue to reap rich rewards into old age because these days the educated elderly are more productive than their predecessors. Technological change may well reinforce that shift: the skills that complement computers, from management expertise to creativity, do not necessarily decline with age.

This trend will benefit not just fortunate oldies but also, in some ways, society as a whole. Growth will slow less dramatically than expected; government budgets will be in better shape, as high earners pay taxes for longer. Rich countries with lots of well-educated older people will find the burden of ageing easier to bear than places like China, where half of all 50-to-64-year-olds did not complete primary-school education.

At the other end of the social scale, however, things look grim. Manual work gets harder as people get older, and public pensions look more attractive to those on low wages and the unemployed. In the lexicon of popular hate-figures, work-shirking welfare queens breeding at the taxpayer’s expense may be replaced by deadbeat grandads collecting taxpayer handouts while their hard-working contemporaries strive on.

Nor are all the effects on the economy beneficial. Wealthy old people will accumulate more savings, which will weaken demand. Inequality will increase and a growing share of wealth will eventually be transferred to the next generation via inheritance, entrenching the division between winners and losers still further.

One likely response is to impose higher inheritance taxes. So long as they replaced less-fair taxes, that might make sense. They would probably encourage old people to spend their cash rather than salt it away. But governments should focus not on redistributing income but on generating more of it by reforming retirement and education.

Age should no longer determine the appropriate end of a working life. Mandatory retirement ages and pension rules that discourage people from working longer should go. Welfare should reflect the greater opportunities open to the higher-skilled. Pensions should become more progressive (ie, less generous to the rich). At the same time, this trend underlines the importance of increasing public investment in education at all stages of life, so that more people acquire the skills they need to thrive in the modern labour market. Today, many governments are understandably loth to spend money retraining older folk who are likely to retire soon. But if people can work for longer, that investment makes much more sense. Deadbeat 60-year-olds are unlikely to become computer scientists, but they could learn useful vocational skills, such as caring for the growing number of very old people.

Old power

How likely are governments to make these changes? Look around the rich world today, and it is hard to be optimistic. The swelling ranks of older voters, and their disproportionate propensity to vote, have left politicians keener to pander to them than to implement disruptive reforms. Germany, despite being the fastest-ageing country in Europe, plans to cut the statutory retirement age for some people (see article). In America both Social Security (the public pension scheme) and the fast-growing system of disability benefits remain untouched by reform. Politicians need to convince less-skilled older voters that it is in their interests to go on working. Doing so will not be easy. But the alternative—economic stagnation and even greater inequality—is worse.

Source:  The Economist

A new study has found that although Australia’s talent shortage is continuing to be a prevalent issue, the number of employers implementing a strategy to deal with it is down by 5% from last year.

ManpowerGroup Australia’s tenth annual Talent Shortage Survey, which interviewed over 1,500 employers around the country, found that 42% of Aussie employers are struggling to fill roles.

Researchers found that employers are stepping away from addressing the talent shortage at a rate of one and a half times their global counterparts.

Lincoln Crawley, managing director at ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand called this pattern “alarming and disappointing”.

“Globally we have seen the number of businesses taking on strategies to counter the talent shortage increase, while on home soil this number has dropped dramatically over a 12 month period,” he said. “Australian employers are giving up.”

Crawley advised employers to tie a talent shortage strategy in with offering unorthodox ways of working.

“We are observing a divergence across the economy,” he said. “Employers who fail to adopt non-traditional work practices risk becoming irrelevant to the new generation of workers, while those that innovate will succeed.”

Experts at ManpowerGroup Australia shared the following tips with HC on how to address and tackle a skills shortage:

1. Have strong training and development programs so staff are continuously learning and growing

2. Establish realistic and regular incentive programs

3. Promote a family-friendly and flexible work environment while maintaining high standards of work and results

4. Utilise new parents returning to the workforce and consider job sharing to maximise the flexibility they are offered

5. Consider older staff – hiring over 50s qualifies companies for a government subsidy

6. Consistently work on strengthening your company’s point of difference to attract and retain the best in the industry

7. Communicate with your people regularly

8. Don’t forget to praise staff when they do a good job

9. Make efforts to inject fun into the workplace so people are excited and motivated even when times are tough

10. Design medium to long term career plans to give staff visibility to all potential career paths

Employers around Australia reported that the most difficult roles to fill were management and executive positions, skilled trades and sales representatives. Skilled trades have remained the most challenging positions to fill for nine years.

“While skilled trades have continued to be the hardest roles to fill for nearly a decade, the demand profile has changed in recent years,” said Crawley. “Demand for roles like electricians and mechanics has eased, while a shift in infrastructure developments across the country is seeing demand outstrip supply for specialist engineers, labourers and skilled trades in infrastructure and construction.”

He added that one of the biggest challenges posed to employers was finding “ready-made specialists, rather than investing in developing existing skills”.

Crawley also called for employers to ensure that IT workers are being invested in so that they can reskill to remain relevant, adding that many IT roles are becoming obsolete.

According to the study’s findings, employers are aware of the constraints that skills shortages are putting on their company despite their apparent reluctance to take action.

Forty-six per cent said that skills shortages were reducing their ability to serve their clients, 33% said they were a hindrance to their organisation’s productivity and competitiveness, and 23% said it lowered employee engagement and morale.

The ten most difficult jobs to fill in 2015:

1.     Skilled trades
2.     Management / executives
3.     Sales representatives
4.     Engineers
5.     Technicians
6.     Labourers
7.     Accounting and finance staff
8.     Drivers
9.     IT Staff
10.   Secretaries, PAs, receptionists, administrative assistants and office support staff

Source:  HC Online
Beyond being told or incentivised to hire older workers, employers need to feel they are making the right decision. Image sourced from

With Australia’s official retirement age heading to 70 by 2035, this year’s federal budget brings forward incentives designed to encourage companies to employ older workers.

The Restart Program, which provides $10,000 to employers to hire over 50s will have payments accelerated, and the government will also provide incentives to older unemployed people to retrain in order to get a job.

The measures go part of the way to addressing the challenges faced by older workers, but come amid ongoing age discrimination in Australia.

Empirical evidence suggests negative stereotypes are at the heart of this form of ageism. Such stereotypes are found among employers as well as the community at large.

Ageist attitudes and related stereotypes are a general socio-cultural phenomenon and are not confined to the workplace, meaning employers’ attitudes toward older workers are simply a reflection of a broader worldview. Being in positions where their decisions have direct impact on the lives of older workers, however, means their views attract more attention than those of other people.

It is not the intention of employers, who typically seek the best person for the job, to discriminate against older workers. But stereotypes are activated automatically in response to cues. For example, a person’s age, appearance, or date of graduation from school are all relevant cues that impact perception and judgement. Despite best intentions, employers’ judgement can be automatically biased by ageist stereotypes so they may miss the best person for the job in cases where it happens to be an older worker.

Common interventions to address ageism toward older workers have been in the form of policies, legislation, and fact sheets, with the former aimed at enforcing fair practice and the latter providing information. Policies, however, provoke resistance to change when people are being told to think and/or behave in particular ways and feel their free choice is threatened. Fact sheets, incongruent with employers’ worldviews, are often perceived as incorrect.

Getting past stereotypes

There are however ways to promote positive attitudes toward older adults among employers and increase the likelihood of them being hired.

One intervention tested successfully involved inducing cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a mentally unsustainable state that is evoked when a person holds two contradictory thoughts and/or beliefs simultaneously.

People are naturally driven to reduce cognitive dissonance, so much so that it often results in them either changing their attitude or further affirming their initial positions.

In our study we made employers aware that discriminating against older workers was potentially counterproductive and against our culturally enshrined value of a “fair-go”. Having been asked to endorse this view and provide their names, employers were advised they would be listed as people who opposed hiring discrimination against older adults and who were committed to non-discriminatory practice. This meant they would ultimately experience cognitive dissonance in response to activation of negative stereotypes in subsequent considerations of older workers.

We also developed fact sheets based on common misconceptions about older workers. Combining the cognitive dissonance aspect with the fact sheet produced the strongest effect.

Employers who participated in this part of the study showed more positive attitudes toward older workers overall, stated that they were more than likely to hire older workers, and considered age to be less important in making hiring decisions.

Attitudes are said to be relatively resistant to change, but by refuting misconceptions and enabling cognitive dissonance to be evoked in employers, we enabled them to maintain a sense of self-integrity as well as professionalism because these were now aligned with fair treatment of older workers.

Ultimately, it was the internal motivation of hiring decision makers that made the difference, as opposed to dictating to employers how they should behave. The next phase is to discuss various ways the intervention could be implemented.


From 1 July 2015 the Australian Government is introducing new employment services called jobactive. These services will replace Job Services Australia to help more job seekers find work and be more responsive to the needs of employers by preparing job seekers with the skills and attributes that employers are looking for.


Under jobactive, job seekers on income support will have access to tailored assistance from a jobactive provider based on their assessed needs. This could include help with looking for work, writing a resume and preparing for interviews, referrals to jobs and training that is suited to the skills that local employers need. People looking for work who are not receiving income support may also be eligible to receive some services under jobactive. For more information, job seekers can contact the National Customer Service Line on 1300 854 414.


Employers will be able to receive assistance from jobactive providers to help them find staff by screening and matching job seekers to available vacancies and by providing support once a new employee starts. These services are provided at no charge and employers may be able to receive financial help through a wage subsidy when they employ an eligible mature age, young, long term unemployed or Indigenous job seeker.



The Restart programme is a wage subsidy paid to employers to assist mature age people participate in the workplace at the same time as encouraging employers to expand their business and benefit from the wealth of experience mature age workers bring. Job seekers who are 50 years of age or older and have been unemployed and on income support* for six months or more can attract a Restart wage subsidy for an employer. Eligible mature age job seekers employed for 30 hours can attract the full rate of the Restart subsidy, and those employed between 15-29 hours per week can access a pro-rata amount.


As part of the ‘Growing Jobs and Small Business Package’ announced in the 2015 Budget, the Restart wage subsidy has been redesigned to make it easier for employers to access.  From 1 November 2015, employers will be able to access the full subsidy of $10,000 (GST inclusive) over 12 months instead of the current two years, when they employ an eligible job seeker. The Restart wage subsidy will include up to $6,500 paid during a 12 month period and a bonus of up to $3,500 for employment which lasts the full 12 months. Employers already making use of Restart will also be able to transition to the new arrangements.


As part of these improvements, employers no longer need to wait until the end of a six month qualifying period to access their first payment. Payments can be made progressively, as frequently as fortnightly if needed. This will particularly help small business at the time when their hiring and training costs are greatest. Large employers who take on at least ten or more mature aged staff will also be able to negotiate the timing of payments to help meet the specific costs associated with hiring multiple staff, including lump-sum payments covering multiple employees.  For more information:


Employers will be able to contact a local jobactive provider to discuss the unique requirements for their business from 1 July 2015. For more information, employers can contact the Employer Hotline on 13 17 15 or visit the Department of Employment website at


* Newstart Allowance; Parenting Payment; Disability Support Pension; Bereavement Allowance; Widow Allowance; Carer Payment; Special Benefit; Partner Service Pensioners; War Widows; Age Pension; Mature Age Partner Allowance; Wife Pension; Widows B Pension