Older job seekers hit by discrimination

The negative attitudes of recruiters, employers, work colleagues and even family and friends are quietly undermining efforts to raise Australia’s mature age participation rates, a new report released today reveals.

The National Seniors report, Age Discrimination in the Labour Market: Experiences and Perceptions of Mature Age Australians, draws from a federal government-commissioned population-weighted survey of 3,007 people aged 45 to 74 conducted in 2012.

It finds over a third (36 per cent) of job-seekers aged 45-plus has experienced age discrimination in their search for employment.

Within their existing workplaces, 13 per cent say they have been denied training, promotion and equal pay while suffering derogatory comments and feeling “forced out” due to their age.

Disturbingly, 31 per cent of retirees said the mere perception that employers considered them "too old" had greatly influenced their decision to leave the workforce altogether.

National Seniors chief executive, Michael O’Neill, said the results show efforts to raise Australia’s mature age workforce participation rates run counter to a tide of discrimination both perceived and real. "Reach a certain age and the doors to training, promotion and even that second interview start closing," said O’Neill.

“With 15 to 20 years taken off their savings accumulation phase these older Australians will eventually find themselves consigned to living a hand-to-mouth retirement”.

The report’s authors are Dr Tim Adair, Dr Jeromey Temple, Lea Ortega and Dr Ruth Williams of the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre. 

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