LSJ – April 2018

Features COVER STORY

One of the most common but least talked about forms of discrimination has enormous costs for society as well as the targeted individuals, LYNN ELSEY finds.

lobal job recruitment site glassdoor.com paints a disheartening picture about the fate of workers over 50, illustrated by the following comments from workers facing what has been

impossible unless a hiring person blurts it out – ‘you’re too old, and because of that we’re not hiring you’.” No wonder mature job seekers have learned to remove all dates from their resumés, limit their job history to roles from the past 10 years and do their best to appear “youthful”, making every effort to appeal to potential employers when faced with the situations similar to those noted above. ose fortunate enough to have jobs can find their career prospects stymied. ey can be passed over for promotions or training opportunities, and their younger colleagues often consider them incapable of taking on new challenges. In 2016, one in seven Australians was aged 65 and over, yet just 14 per cent of that age group was working, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. is means a large pool of experienced, knowledgeable workers with proven skills is going to waste. At the same time, plummeting birth rates and longer life spans are causing a collective wringing of hands across

most modern economies, as employers wonder where they can find people to fill their job vacancies. is pending demographic time bomb makes it difficult to comprehend how anyone could exclude or sideline a core group of capable employees from the workforce. Nonetheless, the Australian Human Rights Commission, in the 2016 Willing to Work report, found that more than a quarter of Australians over the age of 50 have experienced age discrimination in the workplace in the past two years. Along with offering proven skills and knowledge, mature workers are frequently noted for having more job stability and long-term commitment than millennials, who tend to move jobs frequently, according to US employment lawyer Lori Rassas, author of Over the Hill but not the Cliff. Instead of hiring and retaining more seasoned workers, studies show that employers are pushing aside older

called “the last acceptable form of discrimination”. “ I met with a recruiter this week. After getting through the look of disappointment when she saw how old I am she told me that many of their requests are for ‘a recent college graduate because they haven’t developed bad habits yet’.” “If I am willing to work for entry-level wages, why wouldn’t you want my years of experience?” “I am sick of hearing older workers haven’t kept up with technology. I have been through MS-DOS, the many variations of Windows ... Word, Excel, and on and on. Eachtime I have had to learn and adapt. Give me a break.” “Trying to prove age discrimination from a legal perspective is virtually

30 LSJ I ISSUE 43 I APRIL 2018

Made with FlippingBook Annual report