Posts Tagged “mature age jobs Sydney”

Gold Coast resident Liz Clifford stands outside her garage.
PHOTO

Liz Clifford is selling her house because she cannot keep up with the repayments.

In the space of five years, Liz Clifford has lost her husband to cancer, her office job and now her home.

At the age of 60 she finds herself struggling to get by on Newstart unemployment benefits.

“Very disappointed with life,” she told 7.30.

“It wasn’t his fault that he got sick and died, but after losing my job I don’t have the income now to support living here — rates to pay and bills to pay.

“I don’t like to say it’s destroyed my life, but it’s certainly torn it apart.”

Ms Clifford is part of a worrying trend. The number of people aged 55-64 on Newstart has risen by more than 55,000 in less than five years.

“It’s been very difficult. It makes you feel quite worthless actually, like you’ve got no purpose in life,” she said.

“I feel a little bit insulted and I feel like I’ve been punished for being unemployed.”

She lives on about $50 a day and has been forced to sell her and her late husband’s dream home because she can no longer keep up with repayments.

‘I’ve got a lot to offer’

A Centrelink sign

PHOTO Liz Clifford says she uses her fortnightly Centrelink payment to pay off her credit card.

Newstart has not increased in real terms for more than two decades, and the Federal Government is resisting calls to lift the payment.

“Electricity’s not cheap, water rates and house rates aren’t cheap,” Ms Clifford said.

“I get my Centrelink payment every fortnight and that just goes straight onto my credit card.

“Because I’ve used the redraw facility on [the mortgage], it’s gone up but I’ve tried to be very careful with that.”

Ms Clifford currently works part-time at a Gold Coast boarding kennel but is planning a move to Ipswich to find a cheaper home and full-time office work.

“I think people probably want someone who’s 35, 40 or something like that or maybe even younger.

“I know I’ve got a lot to offer, I’ve got a lot of skills and I’ve worked for a long time and I’m quite computer literate, but I think people just think, ‘She’ll be wanting to retire in a couple of years’ time, so it’s not worth taking her on’.”

More programs needed for mature age workers

Flinders University's Professor John Spoehr is a labour market analyst.

PHOTO Professor John Spoehr says older jobseekers face discrimination and other challenges.

Labour market analyst Professor John Spoehr said the sharp rise in the number of over-55s on Newstart was due to a downturn in traditional industries and a crackdown on eligibility for disability support payments.

“Despite the Australian unemployment rate being relatively low, that masks some other problems in the labour market,” he told 7.30.

“In particular, the difficult circumstances that mature-age workers face, particularly because of the decline in mining and manufacturing.

“People who were skilled in those sectors had to find jobs in very, very different areas of the labour market, predominantly in the services sector where they weren’t well skilled.”

Professor Spoehr said a poor education was hurting some workers in the modern employment landscape.

“Typically, mature-age workers, baby boomers in particular, often require more support than a lot of other workers in the labour market that are struggling,” he said.

“I think there’s a need for an expansion of mature-age employment programs in Australia to support mature age workers through these difficult transitions.”

Living on $40 a day

Phillip Cacciola stands in front of an army jeep.

PHOTO Adelaide resident and Newstart recipient Phillip Cacciola volunteers at a military museum.

Phillip Cacciola, 61, has a lifetime of experience on the factory floor.

“My first job [was] cabinet maker, then I got a job at Holden, biscuit factory, steel fabrication,” he told 7.30.

“Then I got a job at Copperpot pate and dip factory. I was there for 10 years.”

He is now unemployed and believes his reading and writing skills and age are stopping him from finding work.

“Everything is on the computer,” he said.

“When you put a job application in you’ve got to put it in the computer. I can’t do that. Simple as that, I just can’t do that.

“If they put me on a forklift and show me what to do I’d probably pick it up after a while. You’ve got to go through the paperwork and safety and stuff.

“I know the safety stuff but you still got to write it down, that’s my biggest problem.”

Mr Cacciola said he had personally sought out courses to improve his reading and writing skills but wanted the Government to help more in this area as well as increase the Newstart payment.

He lives on about $40 a day.

“Sometimes I get cranky when I hear things about the politicians,” he said.

“They’ve got no problems paying the electric bills, they’ve got no problems paying anything.

“If they want to buy something they can get money out of the bank and buy it. I can’t do that.”

Source:ABC

Older adults offer leadership and experience, yet are often overlooked in the hiring process with HR instead focusing on millennials. That’s according to Ben Eatwell, CMO at Weploy.

Eatwell added that this is often out of a desire to “nurture the next generation of talent”, but also the satisfaction out of having a major impact on these younger minds.

“That’s quite a long way from retirement! We know diversity positively impacts innovation, culture and profits, but often age diversity has less focus.”

Eatwell said there are many advantages to employing older adults, particularly in positions where experience and leadership are needed. However, this doesn’t seem to be translating into more opportunities for older Australians.

“I think this has to do with trying to fit workers into traditional organisational structures – by exploring more agile, networked and outcome-oriented structures it can not only improve diversity but also productivity.”

Eatwell offers a few tips for HR professionals who want to boost the number of older Australians amongst their staff.

The starting point should always be a “thorough assessment of the recruitment process” to identify and mitigate where age discrimination could arise.

“One of the key traits we assess is learning agility – in a nutshell, the ability to pick new ideas up quickly,” he said.

“Research suggests that although you can make small improvements to your learning agility, it is more or less fixed and is not dependent on age.”

Consequently, choosing candidates based on learning agility can help add some objectivity to the hiring process.

From there it’s about developing a culture of lifelong learning. Mature employees have a huge amount of experience to share which can be “leveraged to increase overall productivity and morale”.

“Also I’ve seen reverse mentoring work very well, reducing knowledge gaps with both younger and more mature workers, as well as improving organisational culture.”

So what is lost by having nobody senior around?

“Often it’s the times of crisis when calm is needed, or when team morale is affected by a failed project, that age diverse workforces show critical value,” said Eatwell.

“We do a lot of ‘learning by doing’ and that includes what to do when things do not go according to plan.”

Eatwell added that leadership is a quality that is not tied to age, but the “reassurance of someone who has seen a crisis and worked through it to tell the tale” can be invaluable in making sure the right work gets done in these high-pressure moments.

Sometimes, the only senior person on a project is the boss, and employees are reluctant to confess an error that can lead to disaster if unaddressed, he added.

“Having a senior member of the workforce who can act as that neutral-confidant, and know what to do with the information, has considerable value.”

Employees from diverse ages have different experiences, perceptions and approaches when it comes to things like problem-solving, decision making and task handling, he said.

“They can also use various strategies – starting from the way they think, plan and execute tasks, which can influence operations in a more subtle, but still valuable way.”

Source:hcamag.com

People are living longer, and organizations are shifting their attitudes toward older workers as a result. Organizations that can turn advancing worker age into an asset could gain a competitive advantage.

Longer lives, older workforces

Rising life expectancies and an aging global workforce present organizations with unprecedented challenges and untapped opportunities. Companies that plan, design, and experiment with workforce strategies, workplace policies, and management approaches for longer working lives can reap a longevity dividend. Those that lag behind face potential liability concerns and skill gaps. Creating ways for people to have meaningful, productive multi-stage and multidimensional careers is a major opportunity to engage workers across generations.

 

 

One of modern science’s greatest achievements is longevity: the unprecedented length of human lives today. Average global life expectancy has rocketed from 53 years in 1960 to 72 years in 2015—and it is still climbing,1 with life expectancy projected to grow by 1.5 years per decade.2 Longevity, combined with falling birth rates, is dramatically increasing the share of older people in populations worldwide.3 Looking ahead, the number of retirees per worker globally is expected to decline from 8:1 today to 4:1 in 2050.4

These demographic facts have profound implications for individuals, organizations, and society. In this era of longevity, an individual’s career can last far longer, spanning generations of technologies and businesses. Companies can employ people into their 60s, 70s, and beyond as the pool of traditional “working-age” (20- to 54-year-old) adults shrinks. For their part, many individuals find the need—financially and/or emotionally—to stay in the workforce past “traditional” retirement age.

In our 2018 Global Human Capital Trends survey, 29 percent of the respondents rated longevity as a very important issue, and another 40 percent rated it as important. Respondents in Japan in particular, whose population is rapidly aging, were especially concerned about the issue, with 41 percent saying that it is very important.

The looming impacts of global aging

Population aging poses a workforce dilemma for both economies and organizations. Thirteen countries are expected to have “super-aged” populations—where more than one in five people is 65 or older—by 2020, up from just three in 2014.5 These include major economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, and South Korea. China’s 65-and-older population is projected to more than triple from approximately 100 million in 2005 to over 329 million in 2050.6 In fact, analysts have estimated that 60 percent of the world’s population over 65 will live in Asia by 2030.7

Compounding the challenge, almost all developed economies now have birth rates below the replacement rate of 2.1.8 This means that companies in these countries must either attract workers from abroad or tap into the maturing workforce. For a view of the challenges ahead, one needs look no further than Japan—the world’s oldest country—where a shortage of roughly 1 million employees in 2015 and 2016 is estimated to cost nearly $90 billion.9

New research is being conducted to help organizations shape their talent and business strategies for an era of longevity. The MIT AgeLab, for example, works with businesses, government, and other stakeholders to develop solutions and policies aimed at engaging the elderly population. The AgeLab uses consumer-centered thinking to understand the challenges and opportunities of longevity in order to catalyze innovation across business markets.10

Older talent as a competitive advantage

As talent markets grow more competitive, organizations often find it valuable to keep older workers on the job rather than replace them with younger ones. Our research shows that older workers represent a largely untapped opportunity: Only 18 percent of this year’s respondents said that age is viewed as an advantage in their organization. But leading companies are beginning to focus on this talent pool as a competitive advantage.

The older labor pool represents a proven, committed, and diverse set of workers. More than 80 percent of US employers believe that workers aged 50 and more are “a valuable resource for training and mentoring,” “an important source of institutional knowledge,” and offer “more knowledge, wisdom, and life experience.”11 The UK government incentivizes employers to retain, retrain, and recruit older workers, and it is committed to policies that support lifetime learning and training and decrease loneliness and social isolation.12

Proactive organizations are tapping into the older talent pool by extending their career models, creating new development paths, and inventing roles to accommodate workers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. This year, 16 percent of the respondents we surveyed for this report say their companies are creating special roles for older workers, and 20 percent are partnering with older workers to develop new career models. Organizations could find great value in older workers’ ability to serve as mentors, coaches, or experts. Taking on these kinds of roles allows older workers to “pass the baton” to younger generations, while making room for ambitious younger workers.

Many companies are also experimenting with workplace changes to help older employees remain in the workforce. For instance, BMW increased productivity on an assembly line staffed with older workers by 7 percent in just three months through simple changes such as providing cushioned floors and adjustable work benches.13 Home Depot and other organizations are engaging older workers with flexible scheduling options and part-time positions.14 Further, as many as one-third of retirees are willing to work part-time, offering opportunities to leverage this group on a contingent or gig basis.15

Reskilling also plays a role in successful strategies to utilize older talent. One global telecommunications provider encourages senior workers to reinvent themselves and invests in programs to help them acquire new technical skills.16 Software engineers who have built careers on older technologies such as COBOL or C++ can use this experience to learn mobile computing, AI, and other technologies at a very rapid rate.

An interesting and little-known fact, moreover, is that older people are among the most entrepreneurial of workers across age groups. Between 1996 and 2014, the percentage of older workers (aged 55–64) starting new ventures increased—exceeding (by 68 percent) the rate of entrepreneurship among millennial entrepreneurs (aged 20–34), which actually decreased during the same period.17

The new challenges of an aging workforce

The transition toward older talent can present challenges. Older workers may have specialized workplace needs and can attract resentment from younger workers, and they often enjoy higher salaries because of their tenure. Organizations looking to assimilate an older worker population may face the need to design new wage policies, create more flexible rewards programs, and train young leaders to manage people across generations (including team members who may be their parents’ age).

Pensions are another area where longevity impacts organizations. The World Economic Forum estimates that a $70 trillion global retirement savings gap exists today, highlighting the sharp difference between retirement needs and actual retirement income. Moreover, this gap is projected to grow to $400 trillion by 2050.18 Helping older adults to work longer and manage their retirement savings will be a vital need for companies in order to avoid the negative productivity effects of financial stress.

Our Global Human Capital Trends research shows that many organizations are unprepared to deal with the aging of global workforces. Nearly half of the respondents we surveyed (49 percent) reported that their organizations have done nothing to help older workers find new careers as they age. Rather than seeing opportunity, 20 percent of respondents view older workers as a competitive disadvantage, and in countries such as Singapore, the Netherlands, and Russia, this percentage is far higher. In fact, 15 percent of respondents believed that older employees are “an impediment to rising talent” by getting in the way of up-and-coming younger workers.

Based on these findings and our anecdotal observations, we believe there may be a significant hidden problem of age bias in the workforce today. Left unaddressed, perceptions that a company’s culture and employment practices suffer from age bias could damage its brand and social capital.

Age discrimination is already becoming a mainstream diversity issue and liability concern. More than 21,000 age discrimination complaints were filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016.19 The problem is particularly acute in Silicon Valley’s technology industry, where older software engineers are often pushed to take lower-paying jobs or look for work outside Silicon Valley because of the emphasis on the “youth culture.”20

The demographic math is undeniable: As national populations age, challenges related to engaging and managing the older workforce will intensify. Companies that ignore or resist them may not only incur reputational damage and possible liabilities, but also risk falling behind those organizations that succeed in turning longevity into a competitive advantage.

The bottom line

Staying competitive in a world of unprecedented longevity demands that organizations adopt new strategies to engage with older talent. Traditional assumptions—that learning ends in one’s 20s, career progression ends in the 40s, and work ends in the 60s—are no longer accurate or sustainable. Rethinking workforce strategies across multiple generations to account for longer lives will require open minds and fresh approaches.

What role does the C-suite play in capitalizing on longevity? How can individuals adjust?

Workers and job seekers aged over 45 will be eligible for training programs to ensure they have the skills necessary to stay in the labour market for as long as they want instead of winding up on the unemployment scrapheap.

As part of the government’s baby boomers package, it will allocate $189.7 million over five years to assist mature-age workers adapt to the changing needs of the economy.

The bulk of the funding, $136.4 million over four years beginning in financial year 2019, will be available as targeted training for registered jobseekers to develop digital skills, enhance their employability and to identify job opportunities in local labour markets.

A Skills and Training Incentive, costing $19.3 million over three years, will provide as much as $2000 for workers aged 45 – 70 at risk of being made redundant through technological or economic change to undertake reskilling or upskilling. The worker or employer will have to match the funding.

A separate $15.2 million program – the Job Change Initiative – will be set up to outline career options for mature-age workers who are considering early retirement or facing redundancy.

The government will expand its Entrepreneurship Facilitators program, which promotes self-employment, to 20 additional locations at a cost of $17.7 million.

Recruiting and retraining

Incentives to hire a worker aged over 50 will be increased modestly by $1.1 million to provide additional wage subsidies for employers worth up to $10,000.

As part of the effort to keep Australians employed longer, workers will be able to undertake an online skills checkpoint when aged between 45 and 65 to provide advice to building their careers or transitioning to new industries.

As well as looking at workers’ employment history and qualifications, the checkpoint will look at their involvement in the community, such as volunteering, to see whether those skills would translate to a new career path.

By targeting workers aged in their late 40s, the hope is they will receive assistance to prolong their careers before running the risk of retrenchment, seniors advocates argue.

The government has flagged a need to drive cultural change and stop discrimination against older workers, promising to develop strategies in conjunction with business and seniors lobby groups.

“The government understands the importance of working with employers to ensure they understand the benefits of recruiting and retaining mature age people,” Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash said.

“We also need to support Australians most affected by our transitioning economy by providing opportunities for them to acquire the skills that will equip them for future opportunities and jobs.”

Source: www.afr.com.au

Alan Williams, 62, is attempting to return to the workforce after nine years of unemployment but says his age appears to be a hindrance.

A leading social welfare group will form a coalition to tackle ageism in what is being described as Australia’s biggest campaign to reframe attitudes towards growing older.

The Benevolent Society announced its campaign EveryAGE Counts on Thursday, as it launched a report that revealed concerning findings about growing older.

Executive director of the Benevolent Society Kirsty Nowlan said the research, The Drivers of Ageism, showed a mismatch between perceptions about ageing and reality.

“Views about ageing have a preponderance of negativity,” she said.

“People believe that ageing is a process of inevitable decline. The reality is a lot of the fear about ageing is based on a set of myths.

“Ninety per cent of people over 65 rate their health as excellent. More than 90 per cent of older people live independently, not in a nursing home.

“There is a real dissonance between people’s beliefs and what is actually happening.”

The research found that ageist attitudes were most prevalent around employment with one-third of respondents saying employers should be able to force older workers into reduced roles, one-quarter saying bosses would get better value out of training younger workers than older ones and one-fifth saying younger people should get priority over older people for promotion.

Eighteen per cent of respondents accused people who don’t retire at 65 of stealing jobs from younger people.

Alan Williams, 62, is attempting to return to the workforce after nine years of unemployment. After his wife was diagnosed with dementia, he became her full-time carer. He said that now he is willing to return to the workforce, his age appears to be a hindrance.

“You don’t get told officially but I’ve gone for 22 jobs this month and only got two interviews,” he said. “A few others had strict instructions saying that I currently have to be employed”

Mr Williams had previously been self-employed, running a variety of successful businesses. He said that even applying for jobs at his age can be difficult, with changing technology and changing attitudes.

“I rang a recruiter and said that I was putting in an online application and that I couldn’t find anywhere to put in a cover letter. She said she never reads them anyway.

“Coming back in, technology has changed. I expected that but a lot of the terminology is different too.”

Mr Williams said many of his friends had been in a similar situation and had simply given up on looking for work at their age.

“Friends in my age group, over 50, mostly are just doing volunteering work. They applied for several jobs but just didn’t get any.

“I would like a bit more in my superannuation though. I’m happy to work until I’m 75.

“I’m even starting to look overseas so I can get back into the workforce. At least then I’m actually back in the workforce.”

The research, which involved 1400 participants of varying ages, exposed a number of other negative stereotypes about ageing.

However, it did not state an age at which a person becomes “old”.

Almost 60 per cent of respondents believed mental and physical deterioration were inevitable, 43 per cent associated old age with death and 39 per cent said growing older meant losing independence.

Negative attitudes about the cost associated with ageing also came out in the survey with 19 per cent of respondents saying the amount of money spent on healthcare for the elderly should be rationed.

People aged over 65 who took part in the survey had experienced ageism with 57 per cent saying they’d been told a joke about older people, 38 per cent reporting being patronised and 37 per cent being ignored.

Almost a third of older people said they had been turned down for a job due to their age and 14 per cent said they had been turned down for a promotion.

There were some positive perceptions with 73 per cent of people saying older people had a lot to offer younger people, 65 per cent reporting older people have a strong work ethic and 65 per cent believing older people are responsible.

Almost 80 per cent of respondents agreed that ageism was an important issue.

Australians aged 65 and over comprise about 15 per cent of the population, a proportion set to increase to 23 per cent by 2064, according to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Dr Nowlan said the campaign would work with governments and the private sector over the next 10 to 15 years to address ageism, a form of discrimination that is likely to affect everyone.

As part of the advocacy, the coalition will lobby for a federal minister to represent older Australians.

“We view this as a long-term campaign of the same scope and scale as the NDIS,” she said.

“This campaign is a 10- to 15-year project aimed at shifting views about growing older.

“We have been given this gift of longer, healthier life and we really ought to make the most of it.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

David Kazachov claims he has experienced ageism as a job seeker.David Kazachov claims he has experienced ageism as a job seeker. Photo: Nick Moir

After hitting the age of 45, David Kazachov started having trouble getting work.

“It is even worse at the age of 50,” he says.

When we say baby boomers are not good with technology and Generation Y don’t have enough experience, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Associate Professor Leanne Cutcher

Despite extensive experience in the finance and IT industry, Mr Kazachov was surprised to be asked if he had a laptop after making it to the final stage of a recent job interview.

Robert De Niro showed old dogs sometimes have the best tricks in <i>The Intern</i>.Robert De Niro showed old dogs sometimes have the best tricks in The Intern.

Well, of course he did, but there seemed to be an assumption behind the question that he was too old to be savvy with computer technology.

But as it turns out, ageism in the workforce is built on a faulty premise, according to leading Australian researchers of intergenerational employment.

Associate Professor Leanne Cutcher from the University of Sydney Business School is about to publish a new study that has found that contrary to stereotypes and assumptions, the most innovative companies are the ones where the age of employees does not matter.

One health engineering company that had a young chief executive officer appointing 65-year-old workers to new roles leading projects was among companies the researchers found to be the most innovative.

The multinational company, Siemens Healthcare, recognised that people had valuable experience to offer at all stages of their career.

Michael Shaw, the company’s chief executive, said Siemens “takes the best people for the job”.

“Personally, for me it’s not important if the person is in their 20s or in their 60s, I am simply looking for the best minds with the best attitude”, Mr Shaw said.

Associate Professor Cutcher said the company had recognised that the idea that younger people lack experience and older people have too much of it “is a nonsense” and “stifles” the exchange of innovative ideas.

“Where age doesn’t matter, there is more innovation,” Associate Professor Cutcher says.

“When we say baby boomers are not good with technology and Generation Y don’t have enough experience, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Because people who have good ideas then don’t share them because they have been told they are too old.

“But you are just going to replicate the same ideas where you start labelling people as either too old or too young for a role. Where that is happening, it is stifling knowledge exchange.”

Associate Professor Cutcher said younger workers were positive about learning from older colleagues.

“We have this false idea that only young people can innovate and our research has found it has really big implications for the effectiveness of the organisations.”

“While there is robust evidence that older people can be part of a sustainable solution to job market challenges, existing and inaccurate perceptions of the Baby Boomer generation detract from the value of employing the over-50 population.”

Another new study to be released on Thursday by the Australian Seniors Insurance Agency reveals that age discrimination in the workplace is rife.

It found that close to half the Baby Boomer respondents claimed they have been turned down for a job since they turned 40.

The agency’s spokesman, Simon Hovell, said the study of 1200 people across Australia found three in five people over 50 said that they faced substantial obstacles in attempts to find a job.

More than two in five respondents said they felt stuck in rut because they felt a career change, opportunities or promotions were limited.

Baby Boomers said it took longer than six months to find a new job when making a career move. One in six said it took them five years or more to find a job.

Mr Hovell said Generation Y was costing up to $2.8 billion more than Baby Boomers a year to the Australian economy.

“Baby Boomers typically take three days sick leave on average per year, which doubles for Gen Y’s at an average of six days,” Mr Hovell said.

The research also found that more than three quarters of Baby Boomers adapt well to technological innovations, and 73 percent are actively seeking training opportunities.

“The findings point to what many organisations, academics and economists have known all along – Baby Boomers are a real asset to the workplace,” said Mr Hovell.

Source: SMH.com.au

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

Association of Superannuation Funds boss Pauline Vamos wants at least a three-year lead time for major changes to super or pension policies.

Association of Superannuation Funds boss Pauline Vamos wants at least a three-year lead time for major changes to super or pension policies. Photo: Jeremy Veitch

Treasurer Scott Morrison has put ordinary Australian workers on notice that they should no longer expect to receive an age pension from the government when they retire.

Meanwhile, the very wealthy have been warned generous superannuation tax breaks are set to be reined in.

In a wide-ranging speech on Friday, Mr Morrison outlined the government’s vision for an overhaul of the country’s retirement income system designed to ease pressure on future federal budgets: by both reducing expenditure on welfare payments, and limiting the amount of revenue forgone through tax concessions.

The government plans to consult more widely on possible changes next year.The government plans to consult more widely on possible changes next year. Photo: Virginia Star

The Treasurer said government would act next year to alter the Superannuation Act to clarify that the purpose of the country’s compulsory savings system was to enable most Australians to enjoy the “worthy prize” of an “independent retirement”.

“Becoming a self-funded retiree, I think, is one of the most important objectives of any Australian … it means you have choices and control over your life and your care,” Mr Morrison said.

Currently most people can expect to receive at least a part age pension payment from the government when they retire, with their super savings providing a top-up.

Treasurer Scott Morrison outlined the government's vision for an overhaul of the country's retirement income system.Treasurer Scott Morrison outlined the government’s vision for an overhaul of the country’s retirement income system. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

But the age pension should not be regarded as an entitlement for all, but rather a “welfare payment for those who do not have the ability to save enough to fund their own retirement”, Mr Morrison said.

More than twenty years since compulsory superannuation was introduced the system is not yet efficient enough at meeting its objective to “supplement or replace” the age pension, he said.

Mr Morrison said the age pension should remain “as a safety net”, and that people who take time out of the workforce to raise children or perform carers duties should not be left behind.

Opposition spokesman for financial services and superannuation Jim Chalmers wants a low income superannuation contribution retained.Opposition spokesman for financial services and superannuation Jim Chalmers wants a low income superannuation contribution retained. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Enshrining a definition of the purpose of superannuation in law, to better focus future policy changes,was a key recommendation of last year’s financial system inquiry led by former Commonwealth Bank boss David Murray.

The inquiry found that 10 per cent of Australians receive 38 per cent of super tax concessions, more than the combined benefit to the bottom 70 per cent of Australians.

Crackdown on super tax cuts for richest

Mr Morrison also said on Friday that the richest Australians will have to help pay for a better superannuation system as he flagged the government will limit tax breaks on very high balances.

“Super was never designed to be an open-ended vehicle for wealth creation.”

He floated the idea of placing a limit on how much money people can put into super at the discounted tax rate of 15 per cent.

Mr Morrison also pointed to Mercer research that suggests the super tax concessions should designed to enable an income in retirement of 70 per cent of pre-retirement earnings. Opening the door to limiting tax concessions on super has drawn criticism from lobby groups for self-funded retirees.

The move represents a major u-turn, under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, on a core policy promise made by his predecessor Tony Abbott and his cabinet.

Mr Abbott, his former treasurer Joe Hockey, and former assistant treasurer Josh Frydenberg all repeatedly pledged earlier this year “no unexpected or adverse changes to super taxes”.

Mr Morrison downplayed the backflip.

Perception of fairness politically important

“A number of the changes [to super laws] that occurred under the last [Labor] government were egregious, and undermined stability and certainty in the system, and that is why we, in this term of government, have been so hesitant about making any changes in this term,” he said.

Mr Morrison said retirees, and older workers approaching retirement, deserved stability and certainty.

“And yet we must also balance that right with the goal of shaping the superannuation system so it provides opportunity for more Australians, because until tax concessions in the super system are perceived to strike the right balance of fairness there will continue to be calls for more tinkering and changes”.

The Treasurer made the comments during a speech to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference in Brisbane on Friday.

ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos said she supported the idea of restraining access to super tax concessions for the most wealthy and developing policies to encourage more people to save towards a self-funded retirement.

“At the one end of the spectrum super should not be treated as a wealth creation and estate planning vehicle, while at the other we must have a social safety net for the most vulnerable”.

Ms Vamos said the government should provide at least three years notice of any future changes to the rules to allow people time to plan, and that special allowances may need to be made for those already in or closely approaching retirement.

ASFA has called for a lifetime cap of $2.5 million on the amount of money people can accumulate through super.

“While limiting the tax concessions on those very high super balances would only affect about 70,000 people today and not ring in a huge amount of revenue for the government in the short term it would set us up for a fairer and more sustainable system over the next 20 to 40 years,” Ms Vamos said.

Criticism from Labor

Other groups have called for much lower caps.

The Grattan Institute this week proposed limiting pre-tax annual contributions to superannuation accounts at $11,000 per person and taxing investment earnings in retirement, drawing the ire of the self-managed super industry.

Earlier this month Deloitte called for the government to scrap annual limits on how much money workers can tip into their super at the reduced tax rate of 15 per cent in favour of a lifetime concessional contributions cap of $580,000.

On Friday Mr Morrison said there “needs to be more flexibility” in the rules to allow people, especially women, with broken work patterns to catch up – indicating the government is open to scrapping annual caps on contributions.

The government plans to consult more widely on possible changes next year.

Opposition spokesman for Financial Services and Superannuation Jim Chalmers accused the government of peddling a rhetoric of wanting to improve retirement outcomes for ordinary workers, while simultaneously pushing ahead with previously-announced policies that would make leave them worse off.

“While it was good to hear Mr Morrison talking about improving the adequacy of superannuation system, all he offered were thought bubbles,” Mr Chalmers said.

“Meanwhile the government is pushing ahead with plans to abolish the low income contribution scheme by 2017, it is stalling on raising the super guarantee, and has laws before the parliament to weaken penalties for employers who do not comply with their obligations to pay workers’ super.”

Labor’s plan is to introduce a 15 per cent tax on earnings from super in retirement, which are currently tax-exempt, once a person has drawn more than $75,000 a year.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

 20 FEB 2015

Joe Hockey calls his local hardware a “toy store” but on Friday it was a showcase for the treasurer’s dream of an older, wiser workforce.

Joe Hockey has a big job to do on the economy and he thinks he’s found the right tools for it at Bunnings.

The treasurer shook hands with Ralph Hogg and Tony Mebberson at his local hardware outlet on Friday – two men who are straight-from-central-casting examples of the type of worker he needs to help drag Australia back from the brink of widespread, unsustainable and uncomfortable retirement.

Mr Hogg is 83 and carrying on at Bunnings in a hardware retail career that started in long-gone Sydney business Nock and Kirby in the 1970s.

Mr Mebberson, 78, is on a second career: he closed down his engineering business during the 2008 financial crisis then opted for a job at the hardware giant after deciding a golf-filled retirement wasn’t for him.

Men like Mr Hogg and Mr Mebberson are typical of the Bunnings workforce – a quarter of workers are over 50 – but not so much for the rest of Australia.

That’s something that must change, Mr Hockey said.

“There is the cultural stereotype that you study when you’re young, you work hard in your middle years and then you retire when you turn 65. Those days are over,” Mr Hockey said.

“We need to start changing the culture of the nation to accept that longevity is opportunity, that living longer is an opportunity for a more fulfilling life.”

Mr Hockey was speaking at the launch of a National Seniors Australia “management toolkit” designed to help employers take on and retain older workers.

The launch was the perfect platform for Mr Hockey to warn again about the threat to Australia’s continued prosperity posed by the ageing of the population and the shrinking of the young, taxpaying workforce.

Those threats will be outlined in the soon-to-be released Intergenerational Report, which, Mr Hockey has been telling anyone who will listen, will shock the nation with its stark projections of spiralling costs and insurmountable debt.

Earlier in the week Mr Hockey said the report would show that in the next decade alone, the population of over-65s will grow at three times the rate of the traditional working age population.

The projected gap between government revenue and the cost of providing health and other services to those retirees will make people “fall off their chairs”, he warned.

Part of Mr Hockey’s solution is getting Australians to work longer, and getting older out-of-work Australians back into the workforce.

The treasurer said Australia had to have a conversation about how it will pay for its quality of life and the much-vaunted Intergenerational Report would start this conversation.

But Mr Hockey was not clear on what the topics up for conversation would be: he ruled out any shift of wealth from property-owning older Australians to younger ones who can’t buy a home as “not my core ideological belief”.

A former Centennial Coal employee who was retrenched from the Myuna colliery claims he has lost two thirds of his entitlements due to his age.

A former Centennial Coal employee who was retrenched from the Myuna colliery at Lake Macquarie claims he has lost two thirds of his entitlements due to his age.

64 year old Greg Davey lost his job 18 months ago and under the Black Coal Mining Industry Award is not entitled to full redundancy because of his age.

The Human Rights Commission has referred the matter to Fair Work Commission to determine if there has been a breach of the Age Discrimination Act.

Greg Davey said he worked for the company for 31 years and has been left financially and emotionally devastated.

“It feels devastating for me because I didn’t intend to retire in the foreseeable future and having my working life cut short was a hell of a blow,” he said.

“It affected not only me but my whole family.

“I got paid approximately a third of what I was entitled to, so I missed out on two thirds of exactly what I’m entitled to.”

In a statement Centennial Coal says the matter involves questions of law.

Centennial says the matter was heard in the Federal Court on February 9 and Centennial is now awaiting the decision.

Source:  ABC News