Posts Tagged “senior jobs”

Just as companies have shifted on the area of gender and race diversity in the workplace, they now need to change their mindset to encourage older workers to remain employed.
Australian companies need to adopt aged worker-friendly policies in order to survive and attract the best talent.

PwC’s The Golden Age Index report found businesses should look to adopt flexible working policies, such as “phased retirement”, or expanding training programs to encourage and support their older workforce.

“They should also take steps to achieve age diversity, for example through opening up apprenticeship schemes to older workers so that they can capitalise on their experience,” the report said.

PwC people and organisation partner Jon Williams said Australian companies had made gains on improving diversity in the workplace but needed a mindset change to implement policies to attract and retain older staff.

“Companies need to change workplace policies to allow people to work much more flexibly and they need to change culture,” Mr Williams said.

“We’ve moved on the diversity lens now we need to extend that to age.”

He said when blue collar jobs were automated the whole job was lost, but when it came to white collar roles only parts would be replaced.

“In the long term we’re going to need human skills, not computer skills, intuition and application of experience to solve social problems and that fits well into the older workforce’s skills, and unless we tap into these people we’re going to undercut our ability as a country.”

Mr Williams said there was no reason why older workers couldn’t be taught science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills but also the next wave of jobs in aged care would value older workers with life experience skills.

Companies such as electricity operator Transgrid are implementing plans to encourage older workers to remain employed.

The company undertakes strategic workforce planning each year to enable analysis of risks and fill gaps over the next five to 10 years.

It found a number of years ago there was an “age-cliff” as many engineers planned for retirement.

In response, the organisation brought on quite a number of graduates over a few years in preparation for transferring mid-career engineers into senior engineering roles.

Staff are also given other benefits including flexible work arrangements to phased retirement such as a condensed four-day week, a nine-day fortnight, 35-hour week, 15 per cent superannuation and personal leave of 18 days a year.

At Australia Post, 50 per cent of the workforce is over 45 years of age.

In 2010 the company introduced a policy whereby those over 53 years of age and with at least five years’ continuous service have been able to request flexible working arrangements in order to transition to retirement.

Employees may access their accrued long service leave or annual leave on a regular or patterned basis to maintain their salary.

With five generations in the workforce for the first time in its history, Westpac provides employees aged over 50 a “Prime of Life” program where they are given support to plan their next move, including transition to retirement.

Source: Australian Financial Review

9:06 am 15 June 2016

Max Towle, Employment Reporter – @maxbentleytowle

New Zealand has been ranked near the top of an international report judging how well it treats the growing number of people over-65 who are still working.

New Zealand is “harnessing the economic power” of older workers, said the report.New Zealand is “harnessing the economic power” of older workers, said the report.

A report by the financial company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows nearly 40 percent of New Zealanders are working until they are 70 and that number is rising.

Its report, ranking 34 OECD countries, puts New Zealand in second place in how it treats older workers, only behind Iceland.

In its own words, the country is “harnessing the economic power” of older workers.

As well as more over-65’s working, PwC said New Zealand had a great record for allowing them flexible conditions, and a relatively low gender pay gap.

It was also about their skills being better appreciated, said a partner for the company, Scott Mitchell.

“They are as useful, if not more, especially when they can be in a flexible working environment,” he said.

“Just because you become an aged worker, the mere fact you’ve got someone who’s been there and done that and has maturity – they can be fantastic coaches.”

The government’s statistics show of all over-65’s, one in five is working – that is expected to rise to one in three in 20 year’s time.

There are several reasons why older people keep working, said a co-director of the Retirement Policy and Research Centre at Auckland University, Susan St John.

“Among them of course is the problem of outliving savings and needing to provide extra because there’s a greater awareness that New Zealand’s Super scheme, while generous, isn’t enough for many people,” she said.

People should be judged on what they are able to do, rather than a ticking clock, said former All Blacks doctor and current chief medical officer for Sovereign, John Mayhew.

“There’s no evidence that work is bad for us, it may be better in fact. As long as someone is physically and mentally able to do the job they want to do and they enjoy it then carry on,” he said.

“For most of us there’s no magical cut-off at 65, I think we should push the retirement age up.”

PwC’s report also calls for the government to look at the retirement age, but Ms St John said just because more older people are working, it did not mean it should go up.

“That is a real can of worms because many people are not capable of staying in the workforce and raising the age puts them on a work benefit, for example,” she said.

The government has consistently batted away calls to lift the age, saying 65 is affordable.

Ms St John said it was worth noting statistics do not take into account older people who spend much of their time in unpaid caregiving roles – that could mean simply looking after grandchildren.


Wednesday, 04 May 2016

The Australian Human Rights Commission has suggested it should be easier for employees to pursue workplace discrimination claims in court, in a major report on age and disability discrimination.

The 528-page report is the result of a year-long AHRC inquiry into work-related age and disability discrimination, and makes more than 50 recommendations.

The Commission notes that at the time of its April 2015 survey some 27 per cent of people over the age of 50 had recently experienced workplace discrimination; and in the past 12 months, nearly one in 12 Australians with disability (8.6%) reported experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment.

Pursuing discrimination claims should be less of a burden
The AHRC directs nine recommendations to the Federal Government, including that it consider changing the definition of disability under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to align more closely with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ definition.

The latter definition doesn’t focus on individuals’ limitations but rather on “barriers that society constructs for people with disability”, the Commission says.

The Commission also recommends the Government consider the benefits of introducing into law a positive duty to prevent discrimination.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission told the inquiry: “A positive duty is about being proactive. It means eliminating causes of discrimination that may be part of your systems of work, not just responding to complaints that arise.”

A further recommendation is for the Government to consider removing from discrimination laws the “complicated and contentious” comparator test to establish direct discrimination, which “requires a comparison to be made between the way in which a person with a protected attribute (such as disability or age) is treated and the way in which a person without that attribute would have been treated in circumstances that are materially the same”.

Instead, it could use the ACT Discrimination Act’s detriment test, which more simply assesses whether a person has discriminated against another person by treating or proposing to treat the other person unfavourably because of a protected attribute.

The AHRC recommends other ways in which the Government could remove barriers to employees pursuing discrimination claims in court, including:

allowing representative organisations with a sufficient interest to commence federal court proceedings on behalf of workers, but only by leave of the court;
requiring parties to bear their own costs of federal court proceedings, with courts retaining the discretion to make costs orders when considering financial circumstances and other matters;
amending federal discrimination laws to apply to discrimination based on a combination of protected attributes, rather than each separate attribute; and
consulting with workers, employers and peak bodies on the value of developing employment disability standards.
The Commission also found that while employees have a right to request flexible working arrangements under s65 of the Fair Work Act, their inability to appeal an employer’s decision can prevent older workers and workers with disability from receiving such arrangements.

“Individuals and organisations were concerned that this provision ‘lacks teeth’ because employees have no recourse under the Act where they believe an employer’s refusal was not on ‘reasonable business grounds’,” it says, in recommending a review of the provision.

The AHRC also recommends a review of the fairness of the 21-day time limit for making general protections or unfair dismissal claims.

Employer action steps
“Employers, businesses and the organisations that represent them, have a critical role to play in recruiting, retaining and training older people and people with disability,” the Commission says, outlining numerous steps employers can take to prevent workplace discrimination.

Employers should provide managers and supervisors with support to create and manage diverse teams and flexible workplaces, by helping them with job design, training them in how to manage flexible work arrangements, providing them with information on mental health, and training them in the nature and impact of discrimination, it says.

Organisations should also have a “coherent and systemic organisational business strategy” that:

includes voluntary targets for recruiting and retaining older workers and workers with disability, as well as practical strategies to achieve those targets;
regularly tracks and reports on progress and accountability;
encourages employer-to-employer mentoring and partnerships with specialist organisations;
provides employees with guidance on how to support disability disclosure in a non-discriminatory and non-threatening manner;
makes it easy to adjust workplaces when necessary; and
provides internships/traineeships/apprenticeships and mentoring programs.
The AHRC also recommends employers review their recruitment and retention processes to ensure practices, language and accessibility aren’t discriminatory, and outline their diversity expectations to recruitment agencies.

They should also facilitate older workers’ transition into other industries or jobs by providing timely and relevant skills training and identifying transferable skills, and ensure flexible work practices are “mainstream” by making all jobs and work environments flexible, rather than only on request, it says.

Willing to Work, AHRC, May 2016

Source: HR Daily

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


The most recent ABS employment statistics confirm the employment rate has remained stable at 6.2 percent for the third consecutive month, a reasonably good trend for Australia as a whole.

But this does not reveal the key employment issues affecting older workers. The only element of the data which can provide a glimpse into older people’s working or non-working lives is the decrease in the level of men and women in full-time employment, which can partly be attributed to the increasing number of people retiring accompanied with falling numbers of young people entering the workforce.

This is only one side of the story, though, and merely scratches the surface of the challenges that mature-age job seekers face. Two of those challenges are age discrimination in the recruitment process and intergenerational competition from younger colleagues for positions or promotions.

For example, ABS data from last quarter shows an increase in underemployment in both men and women aged over 55 who did not have as many working hours as they would like, which potentially results in not being able to make as an effective impact in their workplace as they wish.

Other hidden issues facing older workers include the limited training and promotional opportunities available to them, which can result in a lack of career progression, cuts to the number of work hours against employee’s wishes, inflexible working conditions, and less opportunity to take on responsibility within the workplace.

All this can lead to older people ‘self-selecting’ out of the labour market — a situation that is economically unsustainable, particularly given the government push for prolonging working lives.

This situation has occurred because employers, recruiters and wider society are largely unaware of, or choose to ignore, the numerous benefits that a healthy and productive older workforce can bring to a business, such as experience, knowledge, skills and mentoring abilities.

The effect of mature-age unemployment and underemployment has multiple and complex far reaching implications on several areas, including an individual’s finances, physical and mental health and general wellbeing.

Yet, mature age labour force participation is just the tip of the iceberg.

As a society we do not yet fully understand, let alone are prepared to deal with, the impending issues facing ageing populations. For example, how will our health system respond? What effect will it have on the economy? What are the entrepreneurial and commercial opportunities? What innovative responses will dominate? The consideration of just one issue in isolation, such as employment, is therefore futile.

Crucial to responding to the complex issues of ageing populations, including foreseeable workforce challenges and opportunities, will be an interdisciplinary approach to ageing. We need to consider local and global topics, encourage innovation and foster strong leadership in this area. But, most importantly, we need to fill the leadership gaps that exist and create champions in an interdisciplinary, intergenerational and international approach to ageing.

Through university programs and research collaborations, policy makers, business professionals and other university graduates are well placed to become the leaders we need in the rapidly expanding ageing sector.
They are the ones who can shift the focus of ageing, remove barriers for older people and place living a healthy and productive life as a vital policy priority.

This must be accompanied with a seismic shift in thinking from that of the current narrative of impending chaos and doom, to one of growth, innovation and opportunity.

Fostering interdisciplinary research and cultivating qualified professionals with a holistic overview will be the positive and productive way forward to achieving that.

Source:  The Huffington Post – Author   

Lecturer in the Academic of the Ageing in Society program at the University of Melbourne


Businesses benefit from hiring mature-age staff.

Businesses benefit from hiring mature-age staff.

BABY Boomers have been the backbone of Australia’s workforce for many years.

The boomer generation, which numbers more than 5.5 million, has helped build the country’s economy and shape its society.

And, over the next decade or two, they’ll change that working landscape yet again as they retire from paid employment.

This exodus will have an impact across Australia, including in the Geelong region. Mature-age workers bring valuable expertise, knowledge and life experience to Geelong’s varied businesses and organisations.

They add diversity, productivity and stability and play a crucial role in mentoring our next wave of workers and leaders.

And many of them are not ready to go. They’re reluctant to down tools, pack away the briefcase and leave their jobs — for financial reasons, personal choice and a strong sense of purpose.

Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data reveals a significant increase in employment numbers over the past five years for older workers in the Geelong region, which includes the City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe and most of Golden Plains Shire.

In mid-2010 there were about 17,300 people aged 55 years and over in part and full-time employment.

Flip the calendar to mid-2015, and that figure has jumped by 6900 to about 24,200.

That’s good news for Geelong’s employers. Businesses can and do benefit greatly from productive mature-age workers but they’ll need to take a flexible approach to keep that valuable intellectual capital within their ranks as retirement beckons.

Options of part-time work and flexible hours make paid employment more attractive to mature-age people looking to balance a job with lifestyle changes as they transition towards retirement.

And it might be enough to keep this valuable human resource within Geelong’s workforce for longer.

But it’s not just skills and knowledge that slip away as mature-age workers retire.

Workplace participation rates across Australia will be impacted too, with governments’ strongly encouraging older people to remain in employment longer to stave off a forecast shrinking pool of workers in coming decades and help counteract the economic ramifications of an ageing population.

While the catchcry of “youth are our future” is true, we ignore the mature-age worker at our peril. They’re important now and will remain so in the future.

— Rob Birch is chief executive officer of Gforce Employment Solutions, which supplies employment services to Geelong, Ballarat and Wyndham regions.


Source:  Geelong Advertiser

 / JUN 16, 2015

Forget Gen Y, female baby boomers are the changing face of t...

The number of older Australians participating in the workforce is rising, with an increased number of Australian women working past the age of 55, according to research from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research.

The study comes off the back of the Intergenerational Report, which recently highlighted the ageing workforce and the importance of employers taking older employees into consideration.

The wide-ranging research, titled Two Decades of Change: The Australian Labour Market 1993–2013, shows the number of both men and women in the workforce over the age of 55 had increased significantly in the last two decades.

In particular, it showed a sharp rise in the number of women aged 60-64 still in the labour force, jumping from 15.2% in 1993 to 45% in 2013. The number of women aged 55-59 working in 2013 had hit 65.3%, from 36.8% in 1993.

Likewise, the number of men aged 65 or older working or looking for work doubled in the two decades to reach 17% in 2013, while the number of those aged 60-64 had increased from 48.3% to 62.5%.

Roger Wilkins, who co-authored the report with Mark Wooden, told Smart Company the swell of older Australian women participating in the labour market reflected a broader societal shift in female labour force participation.

“Twenty years ago, older females had very low participation rates, so there was an enormous amount of scope for change there,” Wilkins says.

“Twenty of thirty years ago, younger women began heading into career-type employment… Those women are now aged 50 to 60, so a lot of the increase is reflecting that.”

Wilkins says the steadily increasing age of pension eligibility over the past 20 years is also reflected in the research.

Asked if this ballooning of an ageing workforce will continue, Wilkins says while it is speculative, there is “certainly still plenty of room for a further increase of older workers”.

“I would be surprised if it got up to levels [in other brackets], but there is considerable scope for a further increase in the participation rate of 55 and over,” he says.

Meanwhile, Nikki Brouwers, chief executive of workplace rehabilitation and health specialist group Interact, says the research is a reminder for small businesses to consider employing older Australians. Brouwers recommends employers consider several ways of attracting and retaining an older workforce.

“Firstly, employers need to consider the flexibility of work hours. Older workers will often want to work earlier and finish earlier,” she says.

“There’s also the consideration of learning styles. Online learning for example might not be the best approach for older workers.”

Lastly, Brouwers says there are other issues such as ergonomics, lighting and movement that employers should take into account.

“What small business employers need to realise is they don’t need to be experts, they just need to engage with their workers, because at the end of the day, they will be best able to articulate what they need,” she adds.

This article first appeared at Women’s Agenda sister publication, Smart Company.

March 8, 2015


The ‘grey army’ is a key to Australia’s future prosperity, according to Treasurer Joe Hockey. But what can the government do to increase participation of older people in the workforce? Its Restart program which offers employers $10,000 to hire an unemployed older person for two years has been a flop so far. Since last July, 956 people have benefited, the Employment Minister, Eric Abetz’s office told me. The program was expected to help up to 32,000 a year. Another program called Corporate Champions, aimed mainly at helping firms retain older workers, looks destined for the chop despite support in the business community. Corporate Champions was a Labor government initiative that was supposed to run for three years from 2013-2016. It’s proven so popular the allocated money has run out after a year, and no new companies can sign up.

Despite a surge in mature-age employment in the past 15 years, Australia has one of thelowest workforce participation rates for older people in the developed world. A higher proportion of older people is in work in New Zealand, the U.K, Sweden, Canada and the US. It’s relatively unusual to see someone of pension age strap-hanging on the bus in the morning peak hour. Can this be changed?

I think there’s no doubt Australia’s workplaces should harness the experience and wisdom of older people, and their contribution to the GDP. A lot of Australians can’t wait to retire; others want to work till they drop. A third group is in-between – they’d stay longer at work if more flexible work conditions were on offer. “Mature workers want to work longer but differently,” Alison Monroe, of Sageco, an employment consultancy, told me.

Many in this in-between group retire as soon as they can access their superannuation or the pension, or if other needs or desires pull them away. Because they want to pick up their grandkids from school a couple of days a week, or play golf on Fridays, they exit the workforce without exploring options. They assume bosses will be pleased to be rid of them.

That’s what Cynthia Cato 63 assumed when she resigned. She was in the young people’s business of advertising. She loved her job as a proof reader at the advertising agency. But she’d lost the affordable rented accommodation she’d enjoyed in Sydney for 30 years after the owner died. As a single woman, she couldn’t afford to buy near the city. But she could afford to buy in the countryside. She bought a beautiful cottage in rural Victoria, and she hoped she’d get a job packing shelves in a supermarket. “The managing director of the agency asked to see me. He said, ‘Cyndi, I’m not in the habit of letting good people go’ and so they worked out a deal,” Cynthia told me.

Cynthia now works from her rural Victorian home for the Sydney-based ad agency and couldn’t be happier. “If you have the internet, there’s no reason you can’t make a contribution to the workplace,” she said. “Older workers are prepared to give 110 per cent. We’re willing and reliable.”

The Corporate Champions program is geared mainly at this particular group – the workers who given flexibility could be persuaded to stay longer. Holding on to the existing mature-age workforce is where the big potential lies to increase participation. When the National Australia bank, one of the Corporate Champions, surveyed its mature-age workforce it found 91 per cent said they would work longer if they could work more flexibly; 62 per cent of staff leaders as a result of the program took steps to reduce barriers for older workers.

The Corporate Champions program has involved 486 big and small companies. Government funds don’t go to the companies but to approved providers who survey staff on retirement intentions, what it would take for them to work longer, and so on. Transition-to- retirement seminars in company time for workers have shocked some into knowledge of their true retirement financial position. The program appears to have been useful in educating both employees and employers. But last week’s Intergenerational Report mentioned only Restart as a government initiative for mature-age workers, signalling the possible end of Corporate Champions.

So many programs in this mature-age workers’ space have come and gone, from the “Wise Workforce” program of the Howard government to Labor’s Jobs Bonus. Many are not well thought-out or given a chance. Restart needs a bit of time to show it’s not a complete waste of money. And Corporate Champions should not be ditched just because it was a Labor initiative if it’s shown to change attitudes and practices.

More direct ways to keep older workers at the grindstone also need consideration. The most obvious is to raise the age at which superannuation can be accessed to the pension age. What’s your view of that? By 2023, the pension eligibility age will be 67 but access to super will be at age 60 (from 2024). Maintaining the gap provides a lure to the better-off to retire. Most importantly we need an economy that creates enough jobs for young and old. As for unemployed older people who are desperate to re-join a grey army of workers, they need a better deal. Higher penalties for age discrimination, and more naming and shaming of errant firms are needed to jolt employers and recruitment firms into changing their ways. The nicely, nicely approach hasn’t worked.

Source:  Adele Horin blog

You don’t always have to choose between working and living your dream nomadic life. It is possible to do both.
Image: Getty

Every winter, Trish Harper is based in Rubyvale, a small town in outback Queensland where the brolgas dance below bright sunsets, and finding sapphires is the dream of many.

Trish and her husband, Robb, spent their working lives behind a desk – her doing administrative work at a high school, him working in a newspaper pre-press department – and focus their retirement on something vastly different. While in Rubyvale, Robb mines on their land lease while Trish works as a local tour guide. Or, as Trish puts it: “I buy him jack hammers and he finds me sapphires – that’s fair!”

Working while they’re on the road wasn’t the initial plan but Trish says you have to just go along with things sometimes. “Another lady who works there (at Miner’s Heritage mine tours) was going on a holiday and they were looking for someone to fill in for her, so I did it… and I’m still there,” she says, adding that she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I do underground tours and I show people how to fossick for sapphires; it’s great when someone finds a sapphire and they get so excited. I just love it.”

But the big attraction to her job is the people she meets. “I meet lots of people who want to enjoy and see the same things that I really enjoy,” Trish says. “I really like sharing it with them and they just want to know more about the place. Everybody who goes there is fascinated by it.”

When they’re not in the Queensland gem fields, Trish and Robb could be anywhere in Australia: at their home in Cairns, travelling around Tasmania in their caravan, touring the Kimberley, or finding small towns that surprise them – just as Rubyvale, the only place they work these days, did. “You have to give those quiet little places a chance,” Trish says. “There’s something there and you’ve got to stop and find out what it is.”

The flexibility of this nomadic lifestyle is perfect for the couple right now and Trish says that mindset is the key to retirement. “I don’t think you can have a dream that doesn’t change when you retire. You hope for a lot of things and if you’re lucky enough to live long enough and stay healthy enough, your dream evolves.”

And ultimately, it’s about having all choices available to them. Trish works the hours she wants at Miner’s Heritage and the rest of the year they just go where they feel inclined to be. “On the back of our caravan we say every day is ‘Chooseday’,” laughs Trish. “We get up and choose what we’re going to do that day, where we’re going to go, how long we’re going to stay there, and when it doesn’t feel right we pack up and go.”

It’s the ultimate post-retirement nomadic life, with a touch of an encore career about it, and another way to make retirement a reality in your own way.


Source:  Living Well Navigator

Originally published Friday, October 24, 2014

THE older one gets, the more likely one will be subjected to age discrimination — stereotyping of and bias against people because of their age. A Duke University study found that 80 percent of respondents over age 60 experienced ageism: denigration, disrespect and marginalization by societal norms. Stereotypes of older adults abound — slow, incompetent, frail, demanding and unproductive.

Most mature workers are physically active, mentally competent and an integral part of the workforce. Thanks to medical advances, more people live longer and healthier lives than ever before. According to the Social Security Administration, a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 84.3; a woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86.6.

Increases in life expectancy contrast sharply with the current decline in economic security among older adults. While some workers delay retirement because they receive satisfaction from their work, many more postpone retirement because of financial pressures. During the recession, older employees accounted for a disproportionate number of layoffs. Often it takes a year for older jobseekers to find work. The jobs they find often pay less.

When older workers are treated unfairly because of age bias it constitutes age discrimination. Nearly two-thirds of workers aged 45 to 74 have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, according to a 2013 study. Instead of receiving respect and recognition for their abilities, accomplishments, knowledge, wisdom and decades of experience, they were viewed as having many more negative traits than positive traits. More important, their ages negatively affected advancement and evaluations, according to an analysis in the Journals of Gerontology.

It is especially maddening to be disregarded as a viable employee because of myths associated with age in our youth-obsessed culture. In response to the myth that older workers are slow, less productive and not quality oriented, the Robert Half agency says older workers are more conscientious and productive.

What about the myth that older workers cost more to pay and cost more to insure? Many of the nation’s top corporations’ bosses say that they receive substantial return on investment when hiring mature workers. The cost is offset by quality, performance and other factors. Some studies show that it costs more to insure a 30-year-old with dependents. Eighty percent of mid- and large-sized employers say there’s no significant difference in insurance costs.

The myth about older workers having high turnover rates or missing work due to illness is refuted by the fact that older workers are less likely to change jobs. Their reduced turnover can lower employers’ expenses. The Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center found that workers over age 45 had a lower rate of sick time than workers between the ages of 17 and 44 years. Additionally, older workers have fewer workplace accidents.

Age discrimination is wrong and unfair. It can have a devastating impact on the financial security and independence of older workers. Unlike race, religion or gender discrimination, age discrimination cases are virtually impossible to win because of a 2009 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, 23,000 age discrimination complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2012, a 20 percent increase over 2009. The court’s decision has made it easier for employers to engage in discrimination without fear of losing litigation.

In Congress, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (S1391/HR2852)is a bipartisan attempt to address the higher standard of proof of age discrimination set by the court. The act would establish the same standards that exist for race, gender or religious discrimination cases. Without a concerted national advocacy effort, it is unlikely that Congress will enact this legislation. Every organization representing older adults should urge Congress to act and ask all Americans to demand fairness and justice for older workers.

Tony Provine is chair of the Seattle/King County Advisory Council for Aging and Disability Services, the designated agency on aging for King County.