Posts Tagged ageism
On Monday in her speech at the National Convention Centre in Canberra (‘Australia’s Welfare 2011′), Susan Ryan called for new visionary thinking when it comes to mature age workers.
We need to create a more fluid working environment where we are encouraged to keep learning at intervals throughout our life cycle – in a workforce that lets us move in and out – at any age, without penalty.
Today at an employer roundtable luncheon convened by The Age Discrimination Unit in conjunction with Sageco, The Commissioner was therefore encouraged and enlightened to hear from organisations doing just this.
Organisations in attendance were at various stages of their age management journey, from building the business case through to showcasing Award winning strategies. Telstra, National Australia Bank, QBE, Service First, PepsiCo, TabCorp and 2disccover shared their thoughts, their challenges, their initiatives and the positive impact of their strategies with the group and members of The Australian Human Rights Commission team.
Catalysts for taking action were explored. What was it that made these organisations move forward in developing mature age strategies and solutions?
- the data story – including a comparison of the average age of retirement within the organisation to the national average (59)
- health and safety – in roles with a high level of physicality and an ageing workforce
- knowledge loss – key people in the business retiring and taking with them critical know-how
- a wave of premature retirements and the mention by one executive that he ‘didn’t want to drop dead two years from now!’
Attraction and recruitment. Why are more mature workers not breaking through to final offer stage?
- a triple edged sword – successful placement requires a combination of marketable mature workers, age positive recruiters, and enlightened employers
- over qualified – the assumption being made that an experienced worker is not prepared to ‘downsize’ in late career
- ‘language’ – communication used in job ads by agencies and employers screening out mature workers at application stage
Retention. What are some of the triggers for retirement and how can organisations enable working longer, but differently?
- unconscious bias – unearthing myths, assumptions and stereotypes residing amongst people leaders
- conversations – enabling authentic conversations between mature workers and their people leaders
- flexibility – throughout the life course, all ages, all stages
- culture – creating an environment where mature workers feel valued and acknowledged for their experience
…and so much more!
Older workers have always been, and will continue to be, an important part of the Australian workforce. We are on the cusp of a vastly changing demographic, and it is now necessary for older workers to remain in the workforce to support Australia’s society and economy
- The Hon Susan Ryan, Age Discrimination Commissioner
Elizabeth Broderick spoke this week at The Sydney Institute on the pervasive issue of age discrimination and confirmed that from July 2011 there will be an inaugural, dedicated Age Discrimination Commissioner in Australia.
Elizabeth shared stories gathered throughout her term with AHRC from mature workers not given a ‘fair go’; reviewed the positive changes and reforms that have taken place in recent years; and talked about the development of a Convention on the Rights of Older People.
A binding convention will recognise the fundamental human rights and freedoms of older people globally. A convention will open up a space for the voices of older people to be heard – for older people themselves to be the architects of their own destinies.
Elizabeth reflected on a personal story of her father, when hearing ‘exclusive language’ being used, asks “Where’s the evidence?”.
A question that organisations and recruitment agencies across Australia should be asking when it comes to the recruitment and career opportunities of mature workers.
One thing is for sure, Elizabeth Broderick has paved the way for a ‘community where when we speak about human rights, age equality is front and centre’.
This week saw the passing of amendments to the Sex and Age Discrimination legislation, paving the way for a dedicated Age Discrimination Commissioner in Australia. Thereby placing age discrimination on an equal footing with other areas of discrimination.
“This is a great day,” said Commissioner (Elizabeth) Broderick. “The Age Discrimination Commissioner will be responsible for raising awareness of age discrimination, educating the community about the impact of age discrimination, and monitoring and advocating for the elimination of age discrimination across all areas of public life.”
This, in the same week as research commissioned by Leadership Management Australasia found ‘Baby boomers are the most unpopular demographic in the workplace‘. Age-old stereotypes seem to be rife in this research (of a relatively small sample of 774 workers) which speaks of mature workers being ‘inflexible’ and ‘technologically inept’.
At SageCo we beg to differ.
Our most recent 60-something ‘flexi worker’ has joined the SageCo team to contribute his wealth of knowledge, skills and experience after expressing a desire to continue working ‘longer but differently‘. Not only does Michael fit hand in glove with the SageCo team (a diverse bunch!) but he has just introduced us to new facilitation technology which will maintain our position at the cutting edge of the ageing workforce challenge.
Read the full article here
We want to acknowledge the passing of Robert Butler, a Pulitzer prize-winning author and psychiatrist who coined the term ”ageism”.
Butler helped create the modern notion that ageing is a time of choice, of opportunity, of growth. He is recognised as having conducted one of the first long term studies of older people in 1955.
Some of the groundbreaking findings of that study were that senility is not an inevitable consequence of age and that psychiatric care is not wasted on the elderly, as was commonly believed. It also found that older people were more contented and tended to live longer when their lives were filled with goals, structure and a sense of purpose.
His work has certainly contributed to the core values and philosophy of SageCo’s programs for redirecting retirement.
Friend of SageCo’s – Toby Marshall, featured on last night’s ABC 7.30 report. In Toby’s inimitable style, he challenged the ‘sanctimonius waffle’ of employers and the euphimisms many might use to not employ a mature, experienced worker. We work with many organisations who are taking steps to change this. We’ve often toyed with the idea of a certification scheme that validates an organisation’s recruitment and employment practices towards mature employees or ‘late career’ employees. Indeed, such a certification not only benefits mature workers – but all workers.
Seriously, if I go to one more presentation or conference that merely presents the ‘big problem’ of Australia’s ageing workforce with no serious solutions, I will scream! (Note to conference organisers – we’re always happy to present some!)