Em­ploy­ment barred by dis­crim­i­na­tion

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT -

“Ad­dress­ing the low work­force par­tic­i­pa­tion rates of older Tasmanians will be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant as changes to the age pen­sion qual­i­fy­ing age are in­tro­duced be­cause those changes will have a dis­pro­por­tion­ate im­pact on peo­ple within Tas­ma­nia,” the sub­mis­sion said.

“It is crit­i­cal, there­fore, that fac­tors prevent­ing older Tasmanians re­main­ing in the work­force are ad­dressed.”

These bar­ri­ers in­clude re­duced ac­cess to train­ing or other op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop new skills where a change of in­dus­try or work is re­quired; dis­crim­i­na­tion in re­cruit­ment pro­cesses and at­ti­tudes of em­ploy­ers and struc­tural bar­ri­ers such as ac­cess to worker’s com­pen­sa­tion in­sur­ance or in­come pro­tec­tion in­sur­ance.

Ho­bart woman Felic­ity Boucher has had many pro­fes­sional roles in her work­ing life but found it tough to get a look into the lo­cal job mar­ket.

The 46-year-old was one of more than 60 peo­ple who added their voice to a story on the Face­book page about the plight and judg­ment around older work­ers.

Many said that they too had ex­pe­ri­enced ageism in the em­ploy­ment mar­ket. They also wanted reg­u­la­tors to con­vince in­dus­try to over­come its age bias.

Ms Boucher ear­lier this month went to the first in­ter­view she had se­cured de­spite ap­ply­ing for hun­dreds of jobs since she be­came out of work six months ago.

She landed the job — with a Tas­ma­nian com­pany — and said it showed the im­por­tance of peo­ple be­ing given a chance at in­ter­view level.

She also hopes her suc­cess would en­cour­age others not to give up de­spite what could be a soul-de­stroy­ing search.

Ms Boucher is con­vinced her age has been a fac­tor in the past. She has re­quested feed­back from po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers but none has been bold enough to ad­mit her age had been a con­sid­er­a­tion.

She is well ed­u­cated, well­spo­ken and has worked over­seas as a parks of­fi­cer and in lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

“I’m cer­tainly not an idiot,” she said as she pre­pared to take a friends’ dog for a walk.

“I re­ally do think I get put in pile B be­cause of my age, not be­cause I am seek­ing jobs that are not suit­able.”

Wayne Reid, 56, who has se­cured work at Mures on Ho­bart’s wa­ter­front af­ter a frus­trat­ing job search, says he is also one of the lucky ones.

“It was a real strug­gle and I can see no other rea­son for that, af­ter 40 years in the hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try, other than my age,” Mr Reid said.

“I could be wrong, but if you speak to others in my age group it is a com­mon theme. It is like you are thrown on the scrapheap af­ter a life of work.

“It can re­ally de­stroy a per­son’s per­cep­tion of self worth.

“There is a real con­flict. The Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment is telling us to work un­til our 70s yet the mes­sage — that older work­ers are a valu­able as­set — is not get­ting through to most em­ploy­ers.

“Employees over 50 are dis­missed and it is across many in­dus­tries. We are re­li­able work­ers with ex­pe­ri­ence. It re­ally doesn’t make sense.”

Sue Leitch, from the Tas­ma­nian Coun­cil on the Age­ing, in­ter­viewed older Tasmanians be­fore giv­ing ev­i­dence to the Will­ing to Work in­quiry when it came to Tas­ma­nia.

The peo­ple she spoke to were an­gry and frus­trated, Ms Leitch said.

“There is a high level of frus­tra­tion that is be­ing felt by peo­ple who are ei­ther look­ing for work or are in work­places where there’s not nec­es­sar­ily good work cul­ture to­wards older peo­ple,” she said.

“What we’re find­ing in some of the re­struc­tures that have been go­ing on in or­gan­i­sa­tions is that peo­ple in their early 50s are be­ing ear­marked for re­dun­dan­cies and vir­tu­ally tapped on the shoul­der.”

Mr Yates said COTA wel­comed the roll­out of trial sites for the Ca­reer Tran­si­tion As­sis­tance Pro­gram.

The tri­als will start mid next year in Bal­larat, Somerset in Queens­land, cen­tral west NSW, Ade­laide and Perth.

Mr Yates said they would be “one im­por­tant step in mit­i­gat­ing the myr­iad of bar­ri­ers that pre­vent ma­ture-age Aus­tralians from re­turn­ing to the work­force”.

“While we wel­come ef­forts to re­move some of the bar­ri­ers older Aus­tralians face, more is re­quired to ad­dress the full ex­tent of the prob­lem,” he said.

“Dis­crim­i­na­tion not only has a neg­a­tive im­pact on the well­be­ing of older Aus­tralians, but it also cre­ates sig­nif­i­cant is­sues for our so­ci­ety and the econ­omy.”

I’m cer­tainly not an idiot. I re­ally do think I get put in pile B be­cause of my age not be­cause I am seek­ing jobs that are not suit­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.