Seniors say Australia’s first government survey of workplace age discrimination confirms what older people have long known – that finding and keeping a job when you are over 50 is tough.
The National Prevalence Survey of Age Discrimination in the Workplace, conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, revealed over a quarter of over 50s had experienced age discrimination in the last two years and 80 per cent of those said they had suffered negative impacts.
“It’s no wonder a third of people who have run up against this kind of prejudice from prospective employers have given up their job search,” said Michael O’Neill, chief executive of National Seniors.
“Almost half said they have been forced into early retirement and to living on their super.
“That is never going to be good for the economy or for the individual, whose financial security, family life and mental health can be severely impacted.”
O’Neill said National Seniors’ own research had also shown that those on lower incomes were particularly affected but too often they had little or no access to opportunities for retraining and upskilling.
“Older Australians will play an enormous role in driving economic growth over the next couple of decades.
“This study is a wake-up call for policy-makers and employers.
“It’s time Australian businesses addressed the fact that discrimination prevents us from realising the full potential of our ageing workforce,” he said.