Age discrimination in Australian workplaces persists
According to a recent survey, approximately one in six Australian organizations will not consider hiring jobseekers aged 65 and over, despite facing recruitment challenges. The 2023 Employing and Retaining Older Workers Survey collected data from 297 HR professionals across Australia to determine their attitudes towards older workers. The report found that 36% of HR professionals consider employees aged between 61 and 65 as older workers, while 23% view those aged between 66 and 70 as older staff. Only 25% of the surveyed HR professionals said they were open to hiring a jobseeker aged 65 and over. Meanwhile, 17% of HR professionals reported that they would not hire people aged 65 and above at all.
Despite facing recruitment challenges, recruiters were less likely to consider older jobseekers. The report revealed that 65% of the respondents face recruitment challenges, and the share of those willing to hire applicants aged 65 and above is modestly lower than those not facing recruitment challenges.
The report shows that there is no difference between the job performance of older and younger workers, and older workers are better at coping with stress, have better attendance records, are more reliable, have greater awareness, are more committed, and are more loyal. However, HR professionals cite a lack of older applicants, the perception that older workers lack necessary tech skills, and high salary expectations as reasons for their reluctance to hire older workers.
Australian Human Rights Commission’s Age Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Kay Patterson AO, said that reluctance to hire older workers is costing employers valuable opportunities and that employers need to “shift their perspective” and “stop buying into myths” about older workers. Australian HR Institute CEO Sarah McCann-Bartlett pointed out that organizations are doing themselves a disservice, particularly amid high levels of job vacancies, by not employing older workers who could help ease these shortages. Employers who embrace age diversity will benefit from increased productivity, innovation, problem-solving, and workforce stability, according to Patterson