Monday, October 24, 2011

Australia and the Mature Worker

WHAT do Elle Macpherson, Madonna, Julia Gillard and Barack Obama have in common?
All being over-45s, they would be considered "mature age" workers in Australia and thus likely to be discriminated against solely on the basis of their age, says Age Discrimination Commissioner Liz Broderick.
"Age discrimination in recruitment and employment in Australia today appears to be pervasive, systemic, invisible and accepted, and people need to realise it might affect their employability sooner than they think," Ms Broderick will tell an Australian Institute of Family Studies seminar in Melbourne today.
She says she was aghast when told in a briefing on age discrimination that 45 was now considered the starting point for "mature age" workers, The Australian reports.
"I was quietly going into shock, thinking to myself, \'Hang on -- this can\'t be. That\'s me! I\'m 47 years old. I\'m a mature-age worker\'," she says in her speech.
Ms Broderick says by 2020 four in 10 Australian workers will be 45 or older, creating a significant problem for the nation\'s future productivity if employers continue to see older workers as washed up.
"Put bluntly, at some stage from around the age of 45 onwards, we all run the risk of encountering age discrimination in relation to employment," she says.
"We\'ve all heard of \'don\'t send me CVs of anyone over 40\'," she says. Australia has lower workforce participation rates for mature workers than most OECD countries.
Even within a workplace, opportunities for advancement are denied older workers.
"They are seen as less efficient, less trainable and less valuable than people younger than them. Mature-age workers can be denied access to promotion and training because they are seen as offering \'limited returns\'," she says.
"Not only does this represent a potentially serious leakage of skills and talent ... but it also strikes at the core of our human right to dignity and respect."

No comments:

Post a Comment