Older workers have much more to contribute, so why aren’t we being supported?

Youth unemployment gets so much attention from the government and media alike, but there are many older Australians who would
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Youth unemployment gets so much attention from the government and media alike, but there are many older Australians who would also love to work. My husband has recently retired, and whilst I love spending time with him, I think having my own part-time job would help me gain another social outlet and some extra pocket money!

As of 2015, youth unemployment stood at 12.44%. However, I was not able to find any statistics about how many older Australians are looking for work. From personal account, I know several friends in their 40s, 50s and even 60s who have been made redundant. They can’t find new jobs, even though they’d like to remain in the workforce. It’s a shame, because older workers still have so much left to contribute to their employers.

Even in this modern world where younger employees cost less, older employees can offer a wealth of experience and life skills. Older employees are loyal and stable – most want to remain with their workplaces, rather than scrambling for the next opportunity. We’ve all passed the child-rearing stage, and can arguably offer our workplaces greater focus than younger employees, who are still struggling to balance work and children.

Older workers are polite and passionate, as recently described by another Starts At Sixty writer. That writer credited an over-60s store assistant with changing her views on retail! Employers should certainly value older staff, but it seems this is not the case.

As a recent letter to the editor commented, “it’s a crying shame how little value employers seem to place on long-term employees. Where in the past it used to be highlighted with pride how long an employee had served a company, now it’s almost a source of embarrassment. And older, experienced people are constantly finding themselves replaced by younger, cheaper people with the gift of the gab”.

Work is still an important element of life for older people. It’s not just about earning pocket money, which is an advantage for over 60s of course, but it’s about continuing a sense of personal identity. Before I had children, I worked as a teller in the local bank and I would love to return there. It just seems the doors are closed to me, because I don’t have fast-paced computer or internet skills.

I believe that considered government measures could help older Australians return to the workforce, even in part-time capacities. That letter to the editor adds, “there needs to be a different job search program to recognise and embrace unique skills and experience that have been finely honed (by older people) over years”. I’m happy to re-train, gain extra knowledge and work hard. I’d just love the opportunity, even at 60!

What makes older Australians better employees? Do you wish to remain in the workforce, or does somebody you know?

  1. Debbie Bryant

    I am going to be optimistic and do a Cert 3 in Tourism this year. Off to Tafe open day this month. Find out my options and if there is any assistance available. I would love to reenter the workforce. I realise that it will not be easy as it has been 27 years since I worked. I devoted my life to raising my children. However nothing ventured, nothing gained. And who knows a Cert 3 might lead to a Cert 2 and 1 and maybe eventually to a job.

    • Starts at 60

      Best of luck, Debbie! You’ve definitely got the perfect attitude 😀 Wishing you well with your next pursuit!

    • Lyn Bradford

      Good for you Debbie👍..I was so glad I went back & did study as a mature student, definitely a help in my employment , & I actually enjoyed it.

    • Christina Smith

      Sounds exciting Debbie, an adventure that’s great for many reasons, meeting new people, broadening your mind and fun, can’t loose kiddo.

    • Christa Caldecott

      Good luck Debbie. I’m sure you will do well and, at only 60 years of age, you are a spring chicken. Lol. Xx

    • Lee Brown

      Great to hear, you must keep us informed! Actually Deb you got the certs a bit wrong! It’s cert 1,2 then 3! If you haven’t studied for a long time maybe you should start with Cert 1. But you might surprise yourself and sail through! 😉

    • Debbie Bryant

      Lee Brown Thanks Lee. My supervisor wants me to do the Cert 3 however when I go to the Tafe open day on the 19th I will have a talk to them. I already volunteer at our local Tourist Information Center. That is how I have got interested.

  2. Libbi Elliot

    I know a couple of older people who lost their jobs in the last couple of years, both are in their mid 50’s. Both are men and both are skilled workers, they are boilermakers. Neither can get work and these are men who have worked all their adult lives. One went bush only recently because he can’t afford the rent and eat as well. The second man got a job as a gardener only to lose his job when the company went bust 2 weeks later, no job since. Newstart is not enough for them to survive on and they don’t want to..they want work

  3. Rosalind Battles

    The Government is forcing older unemployed Australians to work for free picking up rubbish ect, this is NOT the answer, this time could be spent looking for work.

  4. Aileen May

    Basically, it’s a worry when people of whatever age who WANT to work cannot find people willing to employ them.

  5. Margaret Fitzpatrick

    Another difficulty facing the older worker is the lack of training when starting a new job. The older workers tend to be more honest about whether they understand the role immediately. This can be detrimental to you as honesty is not always accepted. We just want to be given the opportunity to learn the job properly. Spending time at the beginning in our training will result in your company having a loyal and confident worker for a long period of time.

  6. David James

    Not much point going back and training for another trade when you are older, simple Math tell you that your time in the new job will be limited to say the least, These older people who been in the work force and lost their jobs need help NOW

  7. Elda Mulrine Quinton

    There are no permanent full time jobs anymore, only 6 month casual contracts unless you are a civil servant.

    • Christa Caldecott

      Jobs are scarce in certain industries and areas and not everyone is able to uproot themselves to get a job due to family commitments.

    • Elda Mulrine Quinton

      It’s so wrong, there’s no security of employment. How are they supposed to get loans or mortgages? This is why the home ownership rate has been dropping for years.

  8. Lyn Pride

    perhaps it is because the younger unemployed are more likely to get into trouble.

  9. Glenda Draper

    I understand completely. I run a small business doing bookkeeping. Have been doing it for 24 yrs, have upgraded qualifications recently and use all the latest software. One place I had been with for 8 years dumped me for a young woman with no qualifications who wooed them. I have since discovered that she lasted just over 12 months and now they are looking for someone else. Vindicated!!1

  10. Kim Isherwood

    They want the younger ones because they are cheaper, can be moulded to the employers way without questioning & are easily replaced!

  11. Lorraine Dix

    After 16 years in retail applied for retail position email reply was not enough experience. Just couldn’t believe this instead I found out they put on 2 juniors. One has since left have applied for over 20 positions
    1 too old
    2 can’t get interview
    3 worried work load would be to much.
    How the hell do they know what a over 60 can do.
    Then you have to look for 10 jobs a month for unemployment and do 10hrs a week community service.
    Very disheartened with the system.

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