According to EveryAGE Counts, Australia’s national campaign to end ageism, a private member’s bill to allow older Australians to work longer hours before having their pensions frozen will need to be accompanied by a campaign concerted effort to mitigate employer ageism if it achieves its goals. The Private Member’s Bill, introduced today by Independent MP Rebekha Sharkie, would increase the income test threshold for retirees and is designed to ease critical labor shortages. “We know from research that around half of Australian businesses say they are hesitant to recruit ‘certain age’ workers – and for most of this group, ‘certain age’ is over 50 years,” said Marlene, national campaign director EveryAGE Count. Krasovitsky. “So if you’re 65 in a job interview, your chances of getting a fair result are relatively slim. “We support efforts to enable older Australians who want to work to use their skills and abilities, but removing structural barriers will not be enough. If we are serious about unleashing the undoubted potential of older Australians, we need to accept that ageism is a huge problem and work hard to address it. “Although there is still a long way to go, we have recently made tremendous progress against sexism, racism and homophobia. It has been a boon for society and the economy. We can do the same thing with ageism, but first we have to accept that it is a real problem.” Ageism is like any other prejudice: it thrives in the shadows. Today, employees more older people or job applicants aren’t even sure to name the ageism they encounter, let alone do anything about it. And many perpetrators are probably blissfully unaware as well. “That’s why we campaigned for a national education program that would help employers and others learn about ageism and name it when they see it.” Our research indicates that employers say they prefer young people because they think they are better able to learn new skills. We also know that older employees say they are eager to upskill or retrain, especially when offered meaningful training opportunities. “If we are serious about encouraging older Australians who want to re-enter the workforce, we need to make sure they compete on a level playing field. At present, that is simply not the case. Every Today, older candidates are being removed by employers simply because of their date of birth.
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