Posts Tagged “olderworkers”

MRAEL Group is one of the three Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers chosen to offer the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Program.

The Australian Government initiative is a free career advisory service offered to employed individuals aged 45 to 54 years. The service will assess where individuals are in their careers and offer guidance if a change in career direction is needed or desired.

MRAEL Chief Operating Officer, Christine Zechowski said the service will operate for six months.

“MRAEL is very excited to be one of only three Providers in Australia to be able to deliver Skills Checkpoint Pilot services.

“We will be delivering the free service across Queensland, including in metropolitan, regional and remote areas of the State,” Ms. Zechowski said.

The Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Pilot is designed to provide eligible individuals with an understanding of their existing skills and experience, determine suitable training and employment pathways and provide advice and assistance in planning the next phases of their career.

“The objective of the program is that eligible participants can access detailed skills analysis and career advice which will assist them to identify suitable new career pathways that are matched to their developed skills and experience,” said Ms Zechowski.

Skills Checkpoint services will also provide participants with advice about employment growth sectors, information about where jobs are located in local regions and the specific skills and credentials required to secure those positions.

“Queensland has a positive employment growth forecast for the five years through to November 2019, with an additional 244,000 jobs expected to be created. With such positive growth in the employment market expected, now is the time to support individuals to plan the next stage of their career to ensure that they are prepared to meet the needs of the evolving labour market across the State,” said Ms Zechowski.

Employed individuals aged between 45-54 years old interested in finding out more about the Skills Checkpoint Pilot Program, including whether or not they are eligible to participate, can contact MRAEL on 1300 4 MRAEL (1300 467 235) or visithere.

Source:  Gladstone Observer

The closer we get to taxing superannuation properly the more we are going to hear about how important it is and how much we are going need to live on in retirement. Don’t believe it. It’s almost all propaganda, almost all paid for with money taken out of our superannuation accounts.

The latest scary figure, produced by the Association of Superannuation Funds, is $58,784 per year. That’s how much it says a 65-year-old couple needs to live on in order to enjoy a “comfortable” retirement.

At the risk of stating the obvious, after tax and rent or mortgage payments most working Australians couldn’t afford such comfort.

It’s absurdly high. The fine print shows such a couple would spend $40 a week on alcohol, $80 a week on dining out, almost $200 a week on food and groceries, $136 a month on the phone and internet, $4000 a year on holidays within Australia, and $14,000 every five years on a holiday abroad.

The Association of Superannuation Funds estimate of how much a 65-year-old couple need to live is absurdly high. Illustration: John ShakespeareThe Association of Superannuation Funds estimate of how much a 65-year-old couple need to live is absurdly high. Illustration: John Shakespeare Photo: Illo:Shakespeare

Plus this: the best part of $250 a month on new clothes and shoes, $80 a month on hairdressing, $54 a month on pest control and/or an alarm service, and $350 a month on private health insurance.

At the risk of stating the obvious, after tax and rent or mortgage payments most working Australians couldn’t afford such comfort. How did such a figure come to be defined as the gold standard used to justify steady increases in compulsory super contributions and to attack plans to tax them properly?

Part of the answer is that the super industry really doesn’t care about the living standards of Australians who are working or about the extra tax they have to pay because super funds aren’t. Its chief concern is the $2 trillion in funds it has amassed to date, and the tens of billions of dollars of it that stick to its fingers each year in management fees.

Its so-called “comfortable” retirement standard was originally called “comfortably affluent but sustainable”. That’s right, the word “affluent” got edited out along the way. The University of NSW team that built it never intended it to apply to the bulk of retirees. For them they created a second standard, “one which affords full opportunity to participate in contemporary Australian society and the basic options it offers”. They labelled it “modest but adequate“.

The word “adequate” has also disappeared along the way, leaving the false impression that what’s affluent is normal and that anything else isn’t adequate.

It’s needlessly scaring us. A new survey by State Street Global Advisors finds that before retirement most Australians believe they won’t have enough to live on, but that after retirement most are happy: two-thirds say their standard of living is no worse and a significant minority say it is better.

The truth is that living costs plummet on retirement. Most retirees no longer face a mortgage, a saving of 30 per cent. Most no longer pay tax, no longer have children living at home, and no longer habitually save up to 10 per cent of each pay packet. They also no longer incur the substantial costs of heading out of home and going to work: petrol, parking, work clothes and the temptations of the office cafeteria. And they have more time to shop and cook, meaning they get better value and pay less for food. So comfortable are retirees spending far less than the industry says they need to, that most actually save.

In his earlier incarnation as social services minister Scott Morrison revealed that in their first five years in retirement 57 per cent of pensioners either build up their savings or keep them steady.

In their last five years 67 per cent do so. A Productivity Commission survey released last week finds that only 5 per cent of retirees stop saving when their income drops on retirement. But outrageously inflating the cost of living for retirees is only the first of the industry’s tricks. The second is to imply that all of it has to come from super.

The astonishing truth, outlined by Morrison in a speech as Treasurer last month, is that super accounts for only 15 per cent of the assets of Australians over the age of 65, and only 20 per cent of their income.

As the Grattan Institute put it in a recent report: superannuation is the least important part of the retirement incomes system. Retirees have much more invested in real estate than super, and “at all ages, incomes and wealth” more invested in other financial instruments than in superannuation.

“It is unreasonable to expect superannuation savings alone to fund a comfortable living standard in retirement,” the institute says. It follows that it is unreasonable to believe that the super system needs to grow or stay as it is in order to provide decent retirements. Labor is blind to evidence when it comes to superannuation.

In thrall to the legend of Paul Keating and the myths propagated by the industry he helped create, it wants to lift compulsory contributions from 9.5 per cent of salaries to 12 per cent. Morrison is more clear-eyed.

Some retirees are genuinely poor. They are the ones paying rent. The Productivity Commission says they typically have to dole out $240 a week and are vulnerable to eviction. Shamefully, when Kevin Rudd lifted the age pension in 2009 he all but ignored the finding from his pension review that rent assistance was far too low. It remains unindexed at $120 a fortnight.

There may well be other Australians for whom retirement is uncomfortable, notwithstanding the pension of $20,498 for singles and $30,903 for couples. But for most it’s OK, no worse than working. There’s no need to hand a $2 trillion industry tax concessions in order to help them.

Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age.


Date:  September 1, 2015 

A few extra years in the workforce – including in part-time work – can boost incomes in retirement significantly, writes Clancy Yeates.

    Working for longer is worth thinking about.Working for longer is worth thinking about. Photo: Glen Hunt

    Treasurer Joe Hockey is urging more Australians to continue working until later in life, and it seems some are taking his advice. But putting aside what Hockey may think, experts say working for longer, including  in a part-time job, can have a surprisingly big impact on retirement income.

    Rising  numbers of Baby Boomers are deciding to extend their working life, official figures show.

    The proportion of 60 to 64-year-olds in the labour force has jumped from 45 per cent in 2008 to about 55 per cent today, and more people aged 65 and over are working, too.

    Part-time work is also becoming more common.The share of people aged over 55 in part-time work has risen from 35 per cent to 37 per cent, as shown in the graph from the Commonwealth Bank.

    No doubt this is encouraging news for Hockey and the Treasury boffins, who are nervously eyeing the mounting cost of medical care and pensions as the population ages.

    However, working for longer can also make financial sense for an individual.

    That is because a few extra years in the workforce – including in part-time work – can boost incomes in retirement significantly.

    Working for longer lifts retirement income in two main ways. It allows you to save up a larger sum of money – such as by making extra contributions to superannuation. Plus, it means the spending of your retirement savings is spread over fewer years.

    The head of retirement income solutions at Towers Watson, Nick Callil​, uses the hypothetical example of someone who is 60, and is thinking about retiring.

    If they retire at 60, they’d be converting their super savings into an income stream of about $32,500 a year. Working for another two years would lift this significantly.

    “If that person retires at age 62 rather than 60, the income goes up to about $34,600, which is a 6.6 per cent increase,” he says.

    The numbers Callil sets out take into account the age pension’s means test, which pares back the pension payments  our  hypothetical worker gets.

    But what about part-time work?

    Callil says that as workers get older, the bigger impact on retirement savings comes from delaying drawing down on your pool of savings, rather than the extra money you contribute to savings. So, working part-time can still give retirement savings a healthy boost.

    Of course, plenty of people don’t want to work longer. And it’s not always a matter of choice: some can’t because of the physical toll of labour-intensive work. But the figures suggest that if it’s possible, and a priority, it can lift your income later on.

    “What these numbers show is that in terms of self-provision and the system working for you, as against being forced to keep working, it’s worth thinking about if you’re capable of doing it,” Callil says.



    "Mr. Fix It": Terry Cole, 63, loves to share his experience as former fitter and turner, electrician and electrical mechanic with his customers at Bunnings Castle Hill

    In the second part of her series exploring the age discrimination facing mature-age job seekers, Jackie Keast looks at the advantages of hiring older workers. 

    Judy Higgins established a niche job board for mature workers,, after her husband Shane spent over two years looking for work. Shane had left his former job at 58 as he was unhappy. He figured he would pick up work quickly. However, during his job search, he found his age was consistently brought up an issue.

    “Two years. It was just horrific,” says Judy. “We thought there really had to be a job board for people over the age of 45 or 50, so they could apply for jobs knowing that their age wouldn’t be a disincentive.”

    Prior to creating the job board, Judy worked for the Queensland Government on the Experience Pays Awareness Strategy, a program that worked with employers to promote the benefits of older workers.

    “We had employers saying ‘well I’ll employ them, but I can’t find them, I don’t know where they are.’ So we thought let’s try to put them together, match them up. So that’s what we’re doing.” she says.

    Judy, 63, operates the job board with help from Shane, 67, and their son, Matt. Since its launch just over five years ago, the website has become the fastest growing job board of its kind, with over 21,000 registered job seekers and over 1,500 registered employers. Jobs on the board cover a variety of trades and profession, both full and part-time.

    Judy says employers have chosen to advertise with them as they recognise mature workers as loyal, reliable and experienced in dealing with difficult workplace situations.

    “We had a large hospitality place ring us one day and say, ‘For goodness sake, can you find us someone who will turn up and won’t have a hangover on a Sunday morning?’,” she says.

    After success in Australia, there are plans to launch a New Zealand version of the site later this year. However, despite the growth in business, Judy says there is no doubt age discrimination is alive and well. She says the job seekers who come to them often report frustration with recruitment agencies and young human resources staff.

    ”They’ve got all these negative thoughts about the skills and energy levels of older people,” she says. “They look across the table during the interview and think ‘well, you’re older than my mother or father, and in some cases, older than my grandparents’.”

    Changing employers’ attitudes

    Judy says she hasn’t seen an increase in clientele since the introduction of Restart, the Federal Government’s $10,000 wage subsidy for employers who hire workers over 50. She believes the cash is not incentive enough. Instead, she feels the government has to work to change employers’ psyche and allow them to recognise older people are capable and willing to work.

    She believes training programs are critical for getting older workers back into the workforce and that the government needs to set up employment agencies that cater specifically for older workers’ needs.

    “[Restart] is not going to change anybody’s mind if they aren’t already committed to older workers,” she says. “You could make the retirement age 90. You can pluck a figure out of the air. It won’t matter what age you make it, unless you’ve got employers who are prepared to employ older people.”

    In order to help develop a commitment to older workers, Judy’s website has developed a pledge for employers to sign. The pledge states that employers’ will offer the same opportunities for older workers as all other workers through the recruitment, training and retention processes. Several large employers have signed, such as Woolworths, Telstra and BP.

    A poster company for hiring over 50s

    One major client of is Bunnings, Australia’s largest household hardware chain, who are acknowledged by the Human Rights Commission and seniors’ advocacy groups like National Seniors Australia as a poster company for employers hiring over 50s in Australia.

    In February this year, when Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey launched the National Seniors’ Age Management Toolkit, a guideline for hiring older workers, he did so at a Bunnings. Over a third of Bunnings’ workforce is over 50, with some employees even in their 80s.

    “Last time I looked, the oldest worker was 83,” says Willem Pruys, Bunnings’ general manager of human resources. “In recent times, I awarded a 10 year service badge to someone who started with us when they were 68.”

    Pruys says hiring older workers has been the company’s deliberate recruitment strategy for the last 15 years. “We had lots of training programs, as we still do, to help our team come up to speed with all the information you anticipate a customer might require, but there’s no substitute in terms of trust for someone who’s actually been on the tools and brings years of wisdom along with their knowledge,” he says.

    Bunnings’ initial recruitment strategy targeted older tradespeople who still wanted to share their expertise but may have been struggling to keep up with the physical demands of their trade. From there, management soon realised older workers from all backgrounds brought a common sense and maturity to the business.

    “We found to our absolute amazement – and to some degree, I’m still a little amazed by it – that we were the only people fishing in a very large pool of talent. For a lot of years, we’ve had it all to ourselves,” says Pruys.

    “Having a mechanical knowledge, I can describe to people how to look after their equipment, so I enjoy that,” says Terry Cole, 63, who works in the power gardening section. Terry has been working part-time at Bunnings Castle Hill since February. Terry is a fitter and turner, electrician and electrical mechanic by trade and used to run his own company.

    “I have three grandkids. They love coming to Bunnings and are proud that Pop’s working here. My grandson calls me Mr-Fix-It,” he says.

    Terry says he was surprised and pleased to see Bunnings hired people of all ages, from uni students, apprentices and the semi-retired. “I’m a young person in some ways, there’s some people here in their 70s! It’s great to see, because out there generally, it can be hard,“ he says.

    Daniela Macerola, 51, has also worked at Castle Hill Bunnings for the last three years. “I like the culture here,” she says. “There are a lot of us around the same age group; we get on really well. A lot of us are going through the same stage of life, with kids and everything, so you can relate to each other,” she says.

    Prior to Bunnings, Daniela worked in various retail and customer service roles. Despite never working with tools before, she now works as a tool expert. “It’s amazing what you pick up. They say old people don’t pick up things, but that’s rubbish!”

    Value of older workers

    Pruys says an advantage of hiring experienced workers is that not only do they pass on their knowledge to the customers, but also to their fellow team members. “These people are natural teachers. We don’t have to run as much training, because it just happens informally,” he says.

    He believes some other employers are scared to hire older workers due to health risks and higher rates of workplace injury. “We look at that and say, well, the return we get on that investment is so huge, it’s not an issue,” he says.

    Bunnings is careful as to where it places older staff to avoid physical wear and tear. Flexible working arrangements also mean staff can work rosters to suit them, so that they can spend time with the grandkids or work other jobs. This flexibility means they often chose to retire later.

    “We work fairly hard at encouraging them to stay with us and be flexible in accordance with where they’re at in life,” says Pruys. “A lot will choose to have some form of paid work as part of their lives for as long as they physically can.”

    Pruys says that more and more employers will need to look to older workers as the population ages. “It’s going to be a real challenge for businesses to resource their ongoing growth,” he says. “Even though we’re actively involved now in employing the older worker, we’re going to have to get better at it.”

    The Age Paradox is a series of articles by AAA journalist Jackie Keast 

    Ron Di Giorgio in his home in Newcastle, NSW

    Walk into Ron Di Giorgio’s house in suburban Newcastle and the first thing you’ll notice are the knick-knacks and curios covering every flat surface of the house: the kitchen table, the coffee table, even the stairs. There are samurai swords, art deco signage, a gramophone, vintage children’s toys. Ron says he’s always been a collector, but after losing his job 12 months ago, he now has to sell some of his collectibles as a source of income.

    “I’m not looking to make a huge amount of money on stuff, I just want to turn it over and make a little bit,’ he says. “That’s what keeps me going.”

    Di Giorgio, 52, has worked for over 30 years as a maintenance electrician. For the last 10 years, he did contract work in the mining and manufacturing sectors. However, when the last project he worked on was cancelled, all the contractors on the job were sacked. Since then, it’s been a struggle for him to find work.

    “It’s not for a lack of trying,” says Di Giorgio, who estimates he’s sent out over 250 resumes in the last year. “I started off really pushing for work but after eight or nine months of doing that, I was over it. I’m just sick and tired of doing it, because there’s no one out there who wants you. I haven’t had one call back,” he says. “It’s depressing. It gets to you.”

    Di Giorgio is on Newstart, but it doesn’t cover all his expenses. Selling his collectibles at the weekend markets and doing odd handyman jobs for family and friends are the only things keeping him afloat.

    “I keep the bills away. That’s all I do. The dole, the $250 a week, that’s my house loan and little bit left for petrol. I have no money for food and no money for bills,” he says.

    Di Giorgio has a partner, Judy, but they don’t live together. Judy works part-time and is on a pension. She looks after Di Giorgio by making him dinner every night but it’s difficult for her to support the both of them. Di Giorgio also has two daughters, 22 and 18. While they’re adults, both still need to occasionally rely on him for support as they study and begin their careers.

    “They still need money, they still need help. You don’t lose that responsibility. That’s another stress that goes onto you, you sort of feel like you’re not doing your job, by not looking after them.”

    The unemployment rate in the Hunter Region is the highest in NSW, at almost 12 per cent, with Newcastle and Lake Macquarie sitting at 8.4 per cent. “The number of people getting sacked at the moment is just incredible, especially electrical,” says Di Giorgio.

    Disadvantaged by age

    Di Giorgio thinks his age puts him at even worse disadvantage in this already tight market. “When I was in my 20s or 30s, I could pick up a job next week. These days I don’t even get asked,” he says.

    As part of the requirements for Newstart, Di Giorgio has had to apply for jobs outside of the electrical field that he may also be eligible for. Recently Mission Australia, a Job Services Australia provider, called Ron with an opportunity to do some labouring work on a residential building site. He accepted. However, later that day, they called him back to withdraw the offer, saying the employer thought he didn’t have enough experience.

    “What experience do you need to shovel a bit of dirt, really? They look at the fact I’m 52 years old. They want young blokes who are fit, who will break their backs for them. Maybe I won’t. They don’t know you until you work for them, until they give you an opportunity,” he says.

    The stress and pressure of looking for work has taken it out of Di Giorgio. After 12 months of looking for full time work, he’s all but given up. “I don’t care anymore. If I make a bit of money here and there just to live, that’s enough. I’ve given up looking for work, because I know there’s none.”

    Di Giorgio says he would happily work for at least another 20 years if he was given the opportunity. “It’s a joke, talking about retiring people at 68 to 70 years old. That’s wonderful if you’ve got a job that’ll take you there. But most people won’t have a job that will make it that far.”

    Barriers for people over 55

    Tim Adair

    A 2014 study by the National Seniors’ Productive Ageing Centre found that 96 per cent of people aged 55 to 59 who were retrenched ended up retiring. One cannot assume that these people would have retired anyway. The figures seem to reflect the difficulty of finding work at this age.

    “The average number of weeks for an unemployed person aged 55 and over to find work is 67 weeks, while for an unemployed person aged 15 to 54 it’s just 38 weeks,” says Tim Adair, director of the Productive Ageing Centre.

    “There are certainly a number of barriers that people over 55, or even younger than that, face when looking for work.”

    Those over 55 are the most likely demographic group to face long-term unemployment in Australia. From a global perspective, fewer 55 to 64 year olds work in Australia than in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

    Discrimination on the basis of age is one major barrier to workforce participation. A recent study by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that over a quarter of Australians aged 50 years and over had experienced some form of age discrimination in the last two years.

    Discrimination was most likely to occur when looking for paid work. Nearly three in five job seekers reported being discriminated against and of that figure, a third then gave up looking for work.

    Susan Ryan

    “It’s very clear that subjecting people to any kind of prejudicial behaviour and attitudes day in and day out will certainly destroy their sense of morale and their capacity to be productive workers,” says Susan Ryan, the Age Discrimination Commissioner of Australia.

    The Human Rights Commission’s study found many employers and recruitment agencies told candidates they were too old for the job, despite the fact it is illegal to do so.

    However, indirect or subtle forms of exclusion were most common, such as candidates being told that they are “over-qualified” or being the butt of jokes about their age. Other forms of discrimination, such as not considering candidates at all, are harder to measure.

    Ageism rife in recruitment

    Both Susan Ryan and Tim Adair note that the recruitment sector, in particular, is notorious for ageism.

    “I’ve had conversations with recruiters who say, ‘we’re only sending employees under 50, because we know that’s what the employer wants’. Then when you discuss that with the employer, they will say ‘no, we didn’t send that instruction’,” says Ms Ryan.

    Another study by the commission found commonly held stereotypes about older workers were that they were inflexible, unmanageable, short-tempered and forgetful.

    Attorney-General George Brandis requested the Human Rights Commission undertake a national inquiry into employment discrimination on the basis of age. The inquiry, called Willing to Work, is part of a larger plan by the government to address the economic challenge of the ageing population and promote increased participation of older Australians in the labour force.

    According to the 2015 Intergenerational Report, by 2055 the number of the population over the age of 55 will more than double. This has implications for tax, infrastructure and services. However, these potential strains on the economy are predicted to rectify themselves if older workers continue to participate in the workforce.

    The focus on increasing older people’s economic participation is not without warrant. Modeling by Deloitte Access Economics for the Human Rights Commission has shown that a 5 per cent increase in workforce participation for workers over 55 would contribute an extra $48 billion to Australia’s GDP.

    “The business case for looking at experienced workers is very strong. If you’re excluding people who’ve turned 50 or 55 just because of their age, then you’re excluding a lot of talent, a lot of experience, a lot of corporate knowledge,” says Ryan.

    “We bring in many overseas workers on working visas of one kind or another and yet we have this huge pool of experienced workers who are being left out of things.”

    Government initiatives

    As part of a push to boost the number of older workers, successive federal governments have sought to raise the pension age. Current law will see eligibility lifted to age 67 by 2023 and the current Federal Government has proposed it be raised to 70 by 2035. This will see the need for many to remain in the workplace for longer than they would have previously.

    Ryan sees the need for these changes. However, she warns of dangers to the taxpayer if employers’ attitudes towards older workers don’t change in line with it.

    “If you lose your job in your 50s and never get another one, you could spend 40 years or more living on government benefits; first the unemployment benefit and then the age pension. And if you’ve stopped working at that age too, then you are unlikely to have substantial superannuation, particularly women. It’s a very grim outlook,” says Ryan.

    In 2014, the Federal Government introduced a wage subsidy called “Restart”, offering $10,000 over two years to employers who hired employees over 50. The employees must have been unemployed for over six months. By April 2015, it was reported that only around 700 people had been employed through the scheme. As part of the 2015 budget, the Government will shorten the amount of time to receive the subsidy to one year.

    Ryan says the Restart program has the right intention and that $10,000 could be quite attractive to small and medium size business. However, she says that money would probably make no difference to larger corporations.

    “I’ll be interested to hear from employers whether they see a case for wage subsidies or tax incentives. I’m not at this stage convinced that’s the direction to go in,” she says.

    Ron Di Giorgio says that the Restart incentive is aimed at the wrong target. “I reckon they should give that money to me, so that I can retrain to get another job. It’d give me an opportunity to find other work. I can’t get work in my industry because there’s none,” he says.

    Di Giorgio says there is lots of work available for truck drivers. However, the cost of sitting for a heavy combination licence is around $2000. He says he’d be interested in getting into the rail industry, but he can’t do that without a Rail Safety Induction card, which costs $250. While that may not seem like much to some, it’s more than Di Giorgio has spare.

    “For the opportunity to try a job, you’ve given up every bit of money that you’ve got. You can’t risk that. I’m not prepared to risk that,” he says.

    Ideas to bring about change

    A skills program is one proposal that Ryan plans to put to government as part of the Willing To Work inquiry. The proposal, called Checkpoint, will allow those over 50 to visit a TAFE or vocational training institute to get a skill assessment. Ryan says this will be particularly helpful with future career planning for those who may need to change sectors in order to continue working as they age. This may include those who may need to move to a less physically demanding job or move out of an industry where jobs are becoming scarce, such as car manufacturing.

    “I think if we had a concentrated effort at midlife and made it easy and straightforward for people to have a look at their own retraining needs, we’d see a much better result,” she says.

    Through the Willing to Work inquiry, Ryan will also receive other ideas for proposals from employers and labour market specialists about what really needs to change. The inquiry was due to report on its finding midyear.

    “Having a job in our sort of society is an absolute building block for having self confidence, economic independence, networks of friends, a sense of person and a sense of making a contribution,” says Ryan. “We value jobs. We say that everyone has the right to work. And if people don’t have jobs when they want to work, you can see the devastation that they go through.”

    However, what it will take to change employers’ attitudes about hiring older workers remains a million, or indeed, billion dollar question.

    Source: Australian Ageing Agenda

    The most significant barrier facing older workers in Australia is age discrimination, according to Labor’s Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shayne Neumann.

    Speaking at the Community Work 2015 conference in Melbourne last week, Neumann said older Australians were being held back from the workforce not due to a lack of want.

    “The data shows that older people want to work, however the Australian Human Rights Commission research into age stereotypes found negative assumptions about ageing prevail,” Neumann said.

    “These negative perceptions have real, pervasive and damaging consequences.

    “As one of the largest growth sectors, social and community services need to see a massive increase in services, particularly for older Australians. And that workforce is going to need to be greyer.”

    Neumann said that Labor supported Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan’s concept of jobs checkpoints.

    He said jobs checkpoints would operate out of TAFE Colleges and provide support and assistance for people who need to look at their employment options.

    “It is one thing to get older people into work, but we need to address two of the biggest barriers to mature age employment,” he said.

    “The first is the absence of adequate workers compensation provision and income protection to cover older workers.

    “I am pleased that this issue is the subject of a recent media focus and public debate.

    “However, the most significant barrier to employment is age discrimination.

    “Rather than punishing older people, [we need to look] creatively at how we can maximise the opportunities presented by the longevity revolution.

    “With more people turning retirement age than working age, as a nation we have to address housing and public transport, work and productivity, taxation and revenue streams, age discrimination and much more.”

    Neumann also used his speech to defend the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and said that the social sector was still “misunderstood, undervalued and often dismissed”.

    “While Tony Abbott’s Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison has not been as zealous as his predecessor Kevin Andrews has in trying to remove the ACNC, the fact is that Bill remains on the Notice Paper,” he said.

    “Labor continues to stand with the sector to support the ACNC, which is critical to a well-functioning not-for-profit sector.

    “We recognise the vital work you perform. That is not the case with all sides of politics.

    “I believe this sector is misunderstood, undervalued and often dismissed. Essentially it is a perception issue.

    “You provide services as opposed to products. While services industries are the fastest growing sectors, I think there is a resistance to understanding how we trade and maximise services.

    “Unlike a piece of coal you cannot weigh it, measure it or hold it in your hand.”

    – See more at:


    Source:  Pro Bono Australia

    Working beyond 60: older workers optimistic about later retirement

    The days of retirement at 60 are becoming a memory for many, with 72% of older workers now willing to stay in the workforce for longer and 71% feeling optimistic about the idea.

    These findings come from a new report from Financial Services Council and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Older Workers Report 2015, based on a survey of 500 Australians aged between 50 and 74.

    72% of respondents said they were keen to continue working regardless of their financial situation. But financial security is the most-commonly cited reason for wanting to work until later in life (61%). 23% said they did not have enough money to retire.

    Other top reasons for working later include personal enjoyment, a sense of accomplishment, and freedom and independence.

    The findings come following the Federal Government’s Intergenerational Report, released earlier this year, that outlines that Australians will continue to have one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates, with a projection that 40,000 people will be aged over 100 by 2055.

    The Intergenerational Report says over-65s will increase from 12.9% of the workforce this year to 17.3% in 2055.

    The Older Workers Report found one in three people between 60 and 64 expect to work for another five years, but just 10% expect to do so for another 10 years.

    Age discrimination is declining  

    The report found age discrimination towards older workers more than halved to 13% in this survey. In 2012, the figure was at 28%.

    Financial Services Council CEO Sally Loane says: “We are beginning to see a positive shift in how society and the workplace values older workers. Employers are increasingly embracing the unique skills and experience that older workers contribute and are introducing programs to train and retrain mature staff.”

    61% have taken up training or upskilling services after being offered them at their workplaces. 41% expect to be paid the same as any equivalent employee.

    17% of older workers have been made redundant since turning 50, with males more likely than females to apply for another job when this happened.

    69% of older workers have not applied for a new job since turning 50.

    Nearly half of the survey respondents reported experiencing no barriers to continuing to work.

    Changing attitudes towards retirement

    65% of older workers are satisfied they have sufficient funds to retire, an increase from 50% in 2012.

    55% would prefer to work part-time for the remainder of their time in the workforce. One in three say workplace flexibility will encourage them to continue working.

    Commonwealth Bank general manager retirement Nicolette Rubinsztein says:

    “Australians’ attitudes towards retirement are changing. No 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.

    “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.”

    Source:  Marketing

    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?

    It’s the latest thing in retirement: not retiring. More workers are planning to continue in the workforce past age 65, and some plan to never retire.

    Nearly 60 percent of 50-plus workers plan to continue working past age 65, and 82 percent of workers age 60 and over have the same goal, according to a white paper published in June by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

    Workers’ plans could represent a healthy trend in light of researchsuggesting that mental stimulation helps delay cognitive decline. But old workers will only be able to follow through on those plans if employers are in fact ramping up en masse to accommodate them in later life.


    That is not the case, at least not yet. Just 4 percent of the employers responding to a 2014 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management reported that they have a formal strategy for recruiting or retaining older workers. And research by JP Morgan found that while 67 percent of all current workers expect to retire after age 65, in reality, just 23 percent do.

    Labor force participation by older workers is increasing, but “workers’ expectations may exceed today’s labor force realities,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica center.

    The problem is particularly acute for women, since they tend to accumulate less in retirement savings and they have longer life expectancies. A new report from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., found that the average income of women over age 65 is just 55 percent of men in the same age bracket.

    “Women face systemic barriers that hinder their ability to access a secure retirement, barriers that begin long before they reach the retirement age,” wrote Sen. Murray to her colleagues on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

    That’s not to say that all employers have their head in the sand. In fact, one major industry, health care, often dominates lists of the best employers for older workers. (In addition, women make up about 80 percent of the health-care workforce.)

    Ann Doshi, a nurse educator at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, is still going full steam at “65-plus,” as she puts it, or just shy of 66. Doshi has been working in operating rooms for 40 years, first as a scrub technician, then as an operating room nurse, and now as an educator for other operating room nurses.

    “To be in this kind of position, they prefer someone with experience,” she said. “It’s one thing to use theory, and another to have the hands-on experience.” But Doshi thinks the same may not hold true in other professions. “I think you find that in many fields, when people reach certain ages, the mentality is ‘maybe we can get someone in here who is fresh,’ ” she said.

    Baby boomers represent about 40 percent of the Atlantic Health workforce, said Lesley Meyer, corporate manager of human resources.

    Carol Indri, 50, an operating room nurse at Morristown and one of Doshi’s trainees, also finds the hospital and its parent company, Atlantic Health, very open to workers in the AARP years. But she said she knows people who have not been nearly so lucky. She pointed to a friend of hers whose husband left her when she was in her early 40s, who has been “barely able to keep a job” and is now “on the welfare side of life.”

    Employers may soon be forced to make more provisions for older workers. People over age 65 accounted for 12.6 percent of the U.S. population in 1990, but their share is expected to increase to 16.8 percent by 2020 and 20.9 percent by 2050, according to Census Bureau calculations.

    For now, though, older workers would do well to have a plan B for their so-called golden years.


    Source:  CNBC

    PwC launched the results of the Golden Age Index yesterday, an OECD ranking of nations by their employment of mature age workers.

    Australia jumped five places to be ranked in 15th place, which PwC global people business leader Jon Williams attributes to the Federal Government’s efforts to increase support of Australia’s ageing demographic.

    Iceland, the occupier of the top spot, has retained the highest place since 2003.
    The index is a weighted average of seven indicators that reflect the labour market impact of workers aged over 55:

    • Employment rate, 55-64
    • Employment rate, 65-69
    • Gender gap in employment 55-64
    • Incidence of part time work, 55-64
    • Full time earnings, 55-64, relative to 25-54
    • Average effective labour force exit age
    • Participation in training, 55-64

    “While Australia is in the middle of the pack moving from 20th to 15thplace among the 34 nations, New Zealand continues to excel, maintaining its second place behind Iceland,” Williams said at the launch.

    He explained that the PwC modelling shows that If Australia’s employment rate for workers aged 55-69 grew to be equal to that of New Zealand’s by 2050, Australia could:

    • Increase GDP by 4.7% – $198 billion at today’s value
    • Improve the Commonwealth and state/territory budgets by 1.7%
    • Reduce net debt by 11% GDP by 2050

    “Employing more mature workers doesn’t block the path for younger workers, it actually makes our nation stronger, as more workers generate more demand and therefore more jobs in the economy,” Williams continued. “However we need to change our social bias toward older workers to allow this to happen.”

    Williams criticised the population’s mindset, which he suggested needs to be moved out of a rut.

    “We are stuck in a cradle to grave model of career progression with a stigma towards changing careers and taking a step back,” he said. “Treasurer Joe Hockey’s appointment of Susan Ryan AO as the first Ambassador for Mature Age Employment is a great step forward. It’s pleasing to see the Federal Government’s commitment to a group of workers that are sometimes overlooked.”

    This year’s Budgest Announcement included a pledge to improve career prospects for mature workers, with the Government reducing the payment period of the $10,000 ‘Restart Wage’ subsidy to 12 months.

    “Businesses who make better use of the skills and experience of older workers gain a real competitive advantage at a time when their customer bases are also ageing,” Williams said.

    Key initiatives

    “From the perspective of an individual company at a point in time, it might seem that more older workers could just block progression and new job opportunities for younger workers,” the report’s authors said. “However, from a longer term macroeconomic perspective, as we are adopting in this study, this should not be the case.”

    The report suggested that businesses could gain from job redesign and role shifts to enable longer careers and manage the health issues facing older workers.

    “Training and development should not stop at 50,” the report states. “Family crisis leave, career breaks and alumni programmes could all help to utilise the skills of older workers at a time when customer bases are also ageing. Age should be included indiversity audits for companies.”

    It was also suggested that companies should strive to “move away from linear seniority-based career paths”.

    “This would allow older workers, where appropriate later in their careers, to shift down into part-time or advisory roles, avoiding any possible blockage to the career progression of younger workers,” the report reads.

    Is Scandinavia’s approach the answer?

    According to the index, Sweden has one of the OECD’s highest employment rates for older workers, particularly amongst women.

    “This reflects a series of policy measures since the early 1990s to counteract early retirement and support older workers,” the report says. “A new state pension regime introduced in the 1990s provided incentives to keep working beyond 65, supported by tax incentives for both individuals and employers.”

    “Policies to keep women in the workforce after maternity also seem to be reflected in longer working lives for women. This may also be influenced by evolving social norms.”

    PwC’s rankings

    The top 20 countries for employing mature workers are:

    1. Iceland
    2. New Zealand
    3. Sweden
    4. Israel
    5. Norway
    6. Chile
    7. United States
    8. Korea
    9. Japan
    10. Estonia
    11. Switzerland
    12. Denmark
    13. Mexico
    14. Canada
    15. Australia
    16. Finland
    17. Portugal
    18. Germany
    19. United Kingdom
    20. Netherlands

    Source:  HC Online