You’re too old to be working… apparently 20



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According to bosses at Queensland’s Gladstone Power Station (GPS) if you’re aged over 55 years, keeping you working would negatively impact upon productivity because you’d be too old to meet the “challenging changes”. This is ridiculous, depressing and somewhat offensive!

However, while Starts at 60 cannot comment on how justified GPS is in making such a decision, it does raise the issue of age discrimination towards older workers.

The Productivity Commission’s report on ageing in Australia clearly identifies we are living longer. You still have at least another 30 years in front of you by the time you hit 60.

The same report has also placed increasing the age at which you are entitled to receive the pension on the agenda, proposing lifting it from 67 years to 70 years, by saying it would boost your participation in the workforce by up to 10 per cent.

But at your stage of life you’d have to ask yourself: ‘What’s point of making people like me work longer if there are no jobs available?’

It appears that the good old cliches about older workers are still getting a run, which is disturbing — especially in the GPS example where your ability to cope through change is the biggest issue. Are you not a demographic that has endured a lot of ‘change’ in your lifetime already?

What employers perhaps aren’t considering is the great benefits of having more mature-minded employees on their staff. Consider your skills, your level of output, your ability to remain loyal (gone are the days of staying in a job for 20+ years), the knowledge transfer you have, and your ability to lead. To say you have nothing to give after age 55 is outrageous.

Are you still actively involved in the workforce? What do you think of statements like this?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Which boffin have they been listening to? What is Australia going to do with its ageing population? Push them into the Centerlink trail! Older people have more experience than younger people and would be beneficial to any company as long as training is put in place to keep them up to speed with the changing work environments. It all boils down to economics and not looking after our population, the people that are keeping Australia a float.

    1 REPLY
    • My experience with age is both good and bad.

      The good
      I was employed as a leading magazine Editor as few younger people applied and had little experience. I took the magazine to new levels, based on all my experience and am proud of my years there.
      Keeping up with technology? I’m so up to speed I give lectures to younger groups about computers.

      The bad
      I applied for a fantastic position and the employment Agent told me I was practically a “shoe-in”. But when he saw me, he asked when did I leave High School? Which is code for what is your age? But that direct question is illegal, so he used a trick to circumvent the law.
      He could not get me out of the office soon enough – I was only 52!
      The (younger) person finally selected did not work out at all well.
      For this reason, and other experiences with Employment Agents, I have no confidence in them.

      A friend was told he was not successful, but when he rang the employer direct, he was told they had not seen his resume and his application would be welcome.

      The same friend has been told more than once that he was “too old” – and he was in his early 40s!

      Fortunately now he has a top job and has proved he is highly worthy of his position

  2. I am 60 and looking for work. I was told by a person at centre link I could do 30hours of volunteer work a fortnight to collect new start. Do that till I was 66 and 1/2 and then go on pension. Just put me on pension now. I want work not handouts…

    1 REPLY
    • Great attitude, but typical of our generation. I’m 60 and facing the prospect of redundancy in 3 weeks, I’m still waiting to hear if I’ll have a job beyond 3 weeks. Like you I want to work too and I’ll back my work ethic against all comers. Good luck with your search for work Pauline.

  3. At 55 we’ve seen 35 – 40 years of constant and accelerating technological change. It’s systemic and endemic. Why should we not be able to cope with what we’ve coped with for all of our working life?

    1 REPLY
    • Chris – Point right on – we have seen more change that any generation since – and I work in the technology area – at the baby boomers are supplying just as many ideas as the Gen Y and better yet we deliver bettr

  4. Nothing new here, once a man had achieved 50 years, prospects for advancement magically disappeared in Queensland since the 70’s as did pay rises other than award increases

  5. So much for the government supposedly encouraging businesses and the community to employ the ‘grey power’. It’s everywhere. The push is on to get the ‘oldies’ out. I work in education and the older teachers are more expensive so principals prefer to employ younger staff, whether they have experience or not, because they are cheaper and also because they can be put on contract rather than be a full-time continuing staff member . It’s all rhetoric, tokenism from leaders etc but the reality is they don’t want older staff.

  6. While protesting on websites and blogging can gain responses and attention, the only REAL way to change things in within the government through representation in the Senate and House of Reps. I believe the constructive thing to do is to source out the policies of the ‘Senior Parties’ that are in this years election and vote for them. Get involved. Join Political Parties with this agenda or support Independents who have the same platform. It’s a growing demographic and one that will gain power if we stand behind it. I am taking a personal interest in this injustice and as a 60 Plus voter realize that, I too, can stand for election in the future. I’m sure I can gain support in this and many other issues (Health, Security in the streets and home) that affect us. Wish us all luck.

    1 REPLY
    • I’m with you Newton – lets get a Seniors Party underway.

  7. I will be 70 this month. I still work on a casual basis in a new industry, for which I undertook formal training following official retirement eight years ago. Interestingly I am continually told by both employers and those for whom I care that they ask for me over younger workers because I so obviously enjoy what I do. And because I gain pleasure from my new people-based “hobby”, I am good at it and brighten the lives of those with whom I come in contact. I feel at 70 that I am at the peak of my powers – I have wisdom, experience, tolerance and, most importantly, a well-developed sense of empathy. Continuing to work when older has the effect of keeping one feeling young.

    1 REPLY
    • That’s good if you’ve managed to accumulate enough money to live comfortably and do not need to rely on the income earned from your ‘hobby’ .

  8. I am 70 and still work a 40 hour week. It makes me feel as thought I am doing something worthwhile and productive.

  9. This is just darn right discrimination, people over this age are more reliable then the younger ones

  10. At 55 I was on top of my profession and got a new job in the United Arab Emirates. After 3 years there I returned to Aus and won a senior management job retiring at 65. Some people are at their best when older.

  11. I was once told I was too old for the Job so I let the 25yr old that I had already forgotten more than she had ever learnt . She then asked me what did I mean. I rest my case.

  12. So I guess we should also force into retirement Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Queen Elizabeth II, and any one else over 55!!!!!!!!! Oh, that would include half the members of Parliament too wouldn’t it????

    What about an alternative? We are in the workforce for up to 50 years (17 to 67) so you could expect a typical company to have around 20% of its workforce in each decade group. Perhaps companies who have less than 10% of their workforce over 55 (less than half the number they would be expected to have) could be required to pay an “Early Retirement Levy”, like the Medicare Levy, on top of their tax to help fund the Social Security Benefits of those they have put on the scrap heap.

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