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Government to pay business to hire mature workers

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HC Online | 23 Apr 2014, 10:31 AM Agree 0
With indications that the pension age will rise, the government will offer employers an incentive payment to get mature-age workers into jobs.
  • Jaya | 23 Apr 2014, 11:09 AM Agree 0
    While there are some businesses in Australia that value older employees, many don't. Being classed as a mature-aged worker once one hits 40 is repugnant. Experience & reliability need to be valued a lot more than they are. In addition to these, most older employees won't be interested in climbing corporate ladders, so that stability should also be valued.
  • Mature aged | 23 Apr 2014, 03:50 PM Agree 0
    Having worked in HR for many years, I have learnt that one cannot generalise about generational differences in terms of capability, capacity or desire to learn, reliability and adaptability. In my view, all employees, regardless of age, need to embrace ongoing learning and to consider their personal brand, to maintain employability well into the future. I have worked with many excellent 60+ team members who were highly valued and had the right attitude towards making a difference to the business. On the other hand, I have also worked with older managers who had no desire to learn and were totally resistant to changing with the business needs. I question the rationale for a Government incentive, as any candidate over 45 who presents well, has a good work history, possesses the requisite skills, attitude and knowledge, and can demonstrate that they are a good cultural fit, will be equally considered with other candidates (by most employers).
  • Ruby Tuesday | 24 Apr 2014, 10:12 AM Agree 0
    What if you are not registered with Centrelink and not receiving income support?
    • skp | 07 Jun 2017, 12:32 PM Agree 0
      Yes would like to know this as well?
  • Errol Phillips | 24 Apr 2014, 11:08 AM Agree 0
    As a qualified and experienced HR specialist who is over 50, was made redundant and is actively seeking a role in HR, I can assure you we are not considered equally. Many applicants never get considered because commercial recruiters (many of whom are under 40) filter them out as being over experienced or qualified before an employer gets to consider the value of their attitudes, values and history. As for the proposed incentives they are provided too late to assist older job seeker who by six months have taken any job they can to earn an income. All their previous experience is lost while they pack shelves in Coles. While I don't like this suggestion, the more effective way to make the proposed incentives (bribes) work is to pay it to the recruiter or in-house recruiting employer as a trailing commission for every successful over 50, retrenched worker they employ and retain for over six months. If we have to work to 70, the sooner older workers are reemployed, the better for them, their employer and the economy.
  • Deb | 24 Apr 2014, 02:50 PM Agree 0
    People over 50 and unemployed with a working partner are doubly discriminated against! My husband is 50 and has been out of work for over 2 years following an injury. He gets no benefits (unemployment, disability or sickness) because I work full time and as Errol mentions, he is now to the point of trying for any job he can physically cope with in order to pay the bills and claw back his self confidence. This plan does nothing to support him or our family
  • caca | 24 Apr 2014, 02:56 PM Agree 0
    Look I'm still quite young, I can only imagine in roles were technology is highly important and changing extremely quickly where there would be any hestitation of hiring older workers purely based on the possibility they may be hesitant to change/tech. Let's be honest we'll find that out in the interview or even sooner from the resume. If I see that someone has quite a lot of tech savvyness to them on paper I don't really care the age.
    My next thought is some may have trouble reporting to a manager significantly younger.
    But these are all assumptions.
  • Vera P | 28 Apr 2014, 01:34 PM Agree 0
    Yes Deb - I agree with you wholeheartedly, double discrimination indeed. And there is another area where the Gov could easily cut some costs - couples aged 55 on "Work start", but with huge superannuation balances - can take "lump sums" which are not counted as income; and still continue to get the Workstart allowance - compared with people like Deb and her husband who are struggling.

  • Adam | 29 Apr 2014, 01:09 PM Agree 0
    But here's another side to the anecdotes. We interviewed an "over 60" person for a role, and on paper he looked exactly right; and we were thrilled to think we had the perfect match. But at interview, he was so overbearing, condescending, and down-right patronising that we couldn't get rid of him quick enough.
  • Samantha | 30 Apr 2014, 01:07 PM Agree 0
    Thanks Adam for this comment. Yes, just because people are mature in years, doesn't always mean that they are mature in attitudes!
  • Mark | 26 May 2014, 02:58 PM Agree 0
    Is there the potential that an equally qualified and experienced 48 year old would be unfairly overlooked for a position because there is no subsidy available to them like there is for a 51 year old??
  • Adam | 27 May 2014, 09:09 AM Agree 0
    Mark, I expect that is entirely possible, all things being equal, most employers would take the "one with the subsidy". So is that a form of reverse age discimination, or just sound business sense?
  • Paul | 28 May 2014, 01:23 PM Agree 0
    I know of and see many people hit their peak performance and achieve huge outcomes after 60 i.e John Howard. I could name many more but attempting to change the biases of recruiter with the belief that one is down and out over 40 isent worth the effort!
  • Matilda | 28 May 2014, 01:54 PM Agree 0
    I agree with Errol Phillip. My husband lost his job when he was 50yrs old and at 54 he is still job hunting. Attended many interviews and he came out very confident the he did well but someone younger was selected for the job. Because I work, he is not entitled to unemployment benefits. He feels embrassed that he has to rely on me for pocket money and medical expenses. He tried to ask centrelink for benefit card so he can purchase medications at discoutned price and also for cheaper travel by public transport but was turned down right out. This means although my husband is unemployed, he does not fall under the "unemployed figure"
  • Mark | 28 May 2014, 03:03 PM Agree 0
    Adam, I don't understand what you mean by 'reverse' discrimination. You are either discriminated against or you are not.
  • Adam | 29 May 2014, 10:10 AM Agree 0
    Reverse as in selecting older workers, when usual practice is to not to select them, based purely on age; thus discriminating. Your original question asks if a younger person might be unfairly overlooked, so that would be age discrimination in reverse.
  • Alison | 06 Jun 2014, 02:21 PM Agree 0
    Older job seekers can get a step ahead by connecting with age positive employers through job boards like where they go specifically to find experience. Also check the extensive list of employers who have embarked on the Dept of Employment Corporate Champions programme - and in so doing have committed to better practise in the employment of mature age workers
  • Mark | 06 Jun 2014, 02:30 PM Agree 0
    If a younger person was discrininated agianst because they were younger, then than would be age discrimination. Not in reverse, just age descrimination.
  • Deb | 06 Jun 2014, 02:52 PM Agree 0
    Sorry Alison but neither of those things help in the situations discussed above. has only two jobs available across all regional areas (market researcher and sales) and the Corporate Champions program is based on the Experience+ program and those workers have to be registered job seekers, ie you have to be registered for unemployment through Centrelink - and if your partner is employed and earning over $50,000 you can't get unemployment! We have had people seriously suggest that we should get divorced simply to access benefits - and the bizarre thing is that the alternative is bankruptcy, which is very likely to lead to divorce - a very sad Catch 22.
  • Adam | 10 Jun 2014, 01:10 PM Agree 0
    Mark, you clearly understood what I meant, so I am at a loss to understand why you are persisting in such belligerent pedantics over a turn of phrase.

    The gist of the article and the other comments was that generally older people are more likely to be overlooked for employment (discrimination because of their age). You made the legitimate comment that now the shoe could be on the other foot, and older workers could be employed over younger people because of a monetary incentive. I agreed that was possible and called it reverse age discrimination; (meaning the opposite of being favoured because of younger age) or alternatively sound business sense.

    And yes, discrimination is discrimination; I don't think that is even a point of discussion.
  • Angela | 23 Jun 2014, 11:26 PM Agree 0
    I am 45 yrs old mature woman I have completed my cert 4 certificate in human resource .
    My job experience ranges from nursing, retail, admin, care- worker.
    I love to continue learning about human resource but it very hard to work in the field (get ur feet in the
    door )unless you know.
  • Ken | 24 Jun 2014, 12:58 PM Agree 0
    Errol, blame the agency recruiters if it makes you feel better, but the reality is it's the employers who are discriminating against older workers. The recruiters couldn't care less how old you are so long as their client will hire you (because then the recruiter gets paid). Their job is to find candidates who fit the client's criteria and the client wants to hire. Sometimes line managers are up front about their preferences, others are more subtle, meaning they just reject all candidates of a certain age. Either way the recruiter learns pretty fast what type of candidates their client is interested in.

    Many employers use commercial recruiters to do their discrimination for them. Sometimes it's on the basis of racial/ethnic or even religious grounds. Oh, and if you have a "foreign" name that's hard to pronounce, that can go against you too (seriously).
  • Judy Higgins | 26 Jun 2014, 12:34 PM Agree 0
    I am the owner of and have been following this conversation with interest. We have the largest number of registered jobseekers over the age of 45 (niche job board) in Australia and realised some time ago there is non single answer to tackling age discrimination. We are unconvinced that one additional job will happen simply because of this latest Govt $10,000 subsidy - if it is approved as part of the budget. Talking up the benefits of older workers isn't enough to address discrimination of mature age workers. It comes down to values, attitudes, myths and beliefs.
    We have had our jobseekers tell us they have been told at interview 'you are about the same age as my Mother/Father/Nan, do you really want this job?" They knew at that time they didn't have the job.
    Necessity will see employers recruiting older workers in the future, but how successful the working relationship will be, without age-friendly work practices, is the big question.
  • Shirley | 26 Jun 2014, 01:13 PM Agree 0
    I am a mature age worker in a professional field and was on $75k pa until a few months ago when my partner of two years had a stroke. My employer was unwilling to make adjustments to my workload to enable me to look after him so I left as there is no one else to help. After 3 mths we are still waiting for any centrelink payment after constant requests for more information. I am looking for part time work but it is virtually non-existant and anyway when and if I get a job my partner will no longer be eligible for a centrelink benefit! We have never shared our money and I have a loan on our current property (he doesn't), I have an investment property which I just settled on when he had the stroke and it is not ready to rent out yet, plus I have a small business. I am sadly not making any money from these but centrelink keeps referring to them as my partners investment and business! After raising 5 chn over 34yrs with my previous partner, leaving with not even a car as we were broke, and then clawing my way back to my current position - how dare centrelink insist that I provide for my current partner? We are financially totally independent. They didn't split my income and tax with him before - why now? Re the Govt incentive to employ me - at my wage I'm sure the less than $4k bonus would mean nothing to employers who would prefer to hire younger, cheaper staff anyway. My partners' self esteem is already plummeting as he contemplates the future of dependence on me - he is pension age. I feel guilty looking for work and jeopardizing his payment but I can't afford my payments even on the home we live in on new start or carers pension.
  • Paul | 03 Jul 2014, 12:42 PM Agree 0
    I have just turned 50 and was made redundant from my last full time job nearly a year ago. I was a National Sales & Marketing Manager with a very good salary and years of senior level experience. I have a reasonable level of education and consider myself to be intelligent, articulate and importantly tech and social media savvy. I just cant get full time employment and have had a myriad of employer reasons for not taking me on but the most brutal and honest was that I looked old and fat and had no chance, it was also suggested that I dye my grey hair (since my 30's) another colour. I have only ever met one decent recruiter (I used to be one many years ago) and in my opinion the rest are complete bottom feeding scum.

    Whilst initially selective I have gotten to the point where I am applying for anything. I am now over 500 applications with a net result of around 25% response and 20 interviews - mainly recruiters). I have revised the CV and format a number of times without much change in response. I did land a couple of part time casual roles (Santa being one) and an ongoing seasonal sports filming job ($100 per week).

    My health I suspect through stress has suffered and I am now a diabetic, on top of that I broke my ankle and have just had to have a wrist & elbow operation.

    My wife works and earns just over $50K and we have some savings and super - not much and ever dwindling. Because of this I do not qualify for any form of support, I am not a bludger but it would be some comfort to be able to get some cheaper medication. The centerlink kid told me "you shouldn't lose your job, get sick or have accidents - sorry cant help you".

    We live at home with our two kids and my 92yo father. We still have a mortgage, car payment, health insurance, etc.. and despite real cost cutting we are still living beyond our means. I am at wits end. In truth I have even thought about the benefits to the family (insurance/super) if I stop breathing but I know this is not the answer.

    For a test I even created a dummy CV with an exceptional background but stated my age. A dozen applications to "so called "age friendly" employers and recruiters with ZERO response.

    I am too young for the scrap heap and have lots to offer. I have tried everything I know with no result - what now ?
  • Helen | 03 Jul 2014, 01:44 PM Agree 0
    As a 60 year old ex-Manager now unemployed, I find business attitudes to over-40 y.o. employees to be quite frustrating. Employers want a younger workforce and are prepared to teach younger applicants. But older employees have a world of life-experience which really is an asset to any business. I know they also come with a little life baggage (read here sometimes stuck in their ways) but for those of us prepared to adapt to the necessary change of finding new work, then employers need to be prepared to give us a chance. Those females in this age bracket are not going to have maternity leave to consider and the older women like myself do not have younger children to care for. Hence greater workplace reliability.
    There are pros and cons for hiring older employees, so previous work experience counts in any job application, which is something the younger applicants often do not have. Enthusiasm, motivation and dedication to work is often greater in the older employee, who can be left to work alone.
    At 60 I've decided to increase my skills level even further by doing a 2 year Double Diploma in Management and Human Resources Management to see if that will give me an 'edge' when competing with younger applicants for jobs.
    It would also be nice to receive an acknowledgement and response to applications as most are not even responded to by prospective employers.
    Never give up! There's nothing we can't achieve when we do it together! All those who have a problem with this theory, get out of the pool! Your time is up and you are in the way.
  • Delia | 03 Jul 2014, 02:40 PM Agree 0
    I have been following this thread with very much interest. Five years ago, at age 59, I was dispensed with when my employer sold his business and the younger purchasers did not want me there. At the time I was devastated.
    After sitting down and looking at my options; I reinvented myself; and addvertised - offering my services as a mentor in my profession; and didn't even mention my retrenchment, ever.
    Luckily, I was offered several short term contracts; and then a full time role in a practice with a lot of young employees; - I am Grandma here, but I am respected and made to feel worthwhile.
    I suppose the message, if there is one, is that we need to be something extra, so that we are not competing with younger candidates - we have to offer something that they cannot.
  • rusty | 21 Jan 2015, 05:56 PM Agree 0
    I am 61 this year, started work when I was 14 year old ,never went to school ,my school was the long paddock with the cattle drovers, but I educated myself over the years to be able to manage large cattle stations in the n.t and Kimberly region of w.a. manager large community's ,am a qualified heavy diesel mechanic , boiler maker, qualified trainer in agriculture and horsemanship. I find it very hard to get a job in these fields and I know it your age the job agency's look at, if you don't send a photo of yourself you never hear from them again. But there hope yet, I have an old mate who turned 74 this year, could not get a job for a long time, so he went cattle droving and has not looked back still doing it to day. We have a lot of skills to offer an employer, but you never get the chance to meet the employer face to face, because the job agency has culled you out.!
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