You’ve probably felt it before; when someone defines your abilities by your age, or assumes you can’t contribute because you’re too young or that you wouldn’t understand because you’re too old. That’s age discrimination, and it’s getting worse.
Age discrimination can happen to us all, but it hits older Australians hardest.
Age discrimination is happening even as Australians are living, working and staying active for longer. It is holding us back at a time when mature Australians are becoming more and more vital for Australian business as employers, employees, producers and consumers. Age discrimination forgets that older Australians are the engine rooms of our communities, volunteering more hours than anyone else in the country, and that their experience, wisdom and generosity provides positive role models for us all.
We are all getting older, so it’s time to stop age discrimination before it stops us. Help us to put the positivity back into ageing.
Some employers do discriminate against people because of their age. That just doesn’t make sense, because they have the most to gain from older Australians.
Our research found that a 5 per cent increase in workforce participation of people over 55 would add $48 billion to the Australian economy. But even though older Australian employees have billions of dollars worth of skills and experience, they find it more difficult to get jobs for which they are well-qualified.
This needs to change.
A productive economy needs a productive workforce. Research shows that older workers have vast experience and expertise in their fields, are no more likely to change jobs or take sick leave than younger workers and no less able to adapt to new technologies than anyone else.
Australian businesses need older workers. Because older workers mean business.
Everyone – young and old – has the right to work without experiencing discrimination because of their age. However, age discrimination in the workplace is an unfortunate reality for many older Australians. If you want to find out more about age discrimination or figure out if you have experienced age discrimination at work or in seeking employment, you might find these resources helpful: .
How to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission
If you believe you have experienced age discrimination, you can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Information Service on 1300 656 419. You can also make a complaint online at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints/make-complaint.
Employers can benefit from a diverse and inclusive workplace where employees are treated fairly and equally regardless of their age. A workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment can not only improve the wellbeing of employees but can also lead to increases in productivity.
It’s important that your workplace has developed policies and practices that allow all employees to feel safe and valued at work. It’s also important that as an employer, you know the do’s and don’ts when it comes to hiring and retaining older Australians. To learn more about how you can make your workplace one that supports diversity and discourages discrimination, there are a range of free online resources.