11 July 2016

Australia’s Ageing Workforce Revolution

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In an address at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, July 6 2016, The Hon Susan Ryan AO, Age Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission delivered a speed entitled, “The ageing revolution is not over.”

Her speech called on policy makers and corporate Australia to embrace the economic potential of older workers, highlighting the demographic revolution had already happened but the response on a national level was still undecided.

With over 3.4 million people aged 65 and over (compared to only 1.5 million people aged 18-24) the 65+ cohort is the fasted growing group in Australia. The Intergenerational Report released by the Abbott Government highlighted the realities of an ageing population with a projected the number of Australians aged over 65 will more than double by 2055 amounted to an approximated 40,000 aged over 100.

In the Human Rights Commissions 2016 Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians with Disability report, the survey found “more than a quarter of Australians aged 50 years and over had experienced age discrimination in the workplace during the last two years. One third were aware of other people in the same age range experiencing discrimination because of their age. Of great concern, a third of those who had experienced age discrimination gave up looking for work.”

The report also showed that international comparisons by the OECD showed Australia lagging behind similar countries in terms of employment opportunities for older people concluding the reality is that labour force participation for older people and those with a disability in Australia has changed little over the past 20 years, creating a negative impact on the individual and the fact such low participation rates is a public policy problem needing to be addressed.

While employing mature-aged workers requires management to upskill and train people into the way of the digital environment, a 7% increase in mature-age labour force participation could raise GDP in 2022 by $25 billion.

Australia’s employers and policy makers are not doing enough to ensure equal opportunities are available for Australia’s ageing (and largest demographic) population. To gain insights and a competitive advantage to your business, attend Akolade’s 2nd Annual National Ageing Workforce Forum, 30thAugust to 1st September 2016 at the Novotel Darling Harbour Sydney.

Exclusive: Hear more about the Human Rights Commissions 2016 Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians with Disabilities with an in-depth analysis from Marlene Krasovitsky, Director, Australian Human Rights Commission.

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

Mike’s most recently published story, Seeds of Eden, is featured in the Sproutlings Anthology released in March 2016.

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