Employment Facts

Without significant change in attitude and practice, Australia’s ageing population may prove a burden, not a blessing.

Some key facts about mature age working:

  1. Many older workseekers will never find full-time work again, once they have been “down-sized”. For those who do not qualify for income support – and for most who do – that means they often struggle to survive and try to re-establish themselves while using up their savings/retirement savings and assets,
  2. Many older workseekers survive by cobbling together a living by generating income from a variety of irregular contract and casual sources. This has a dramatic effect on the level of superannuation contributions they are able to make, at a time in their working lives when normally they would be expected to be making major input.
  3. Endeavouring to generate income this way requires a mix of skills and business abilities that many individuals do not have, or do not know how to acquire. Their income and potential retirement savings suffer accordingly.
  4. The Federal Government’s employment support mainly reaches people who do not come from high-earning, professional backgrounds. Many people complain that the sort of re-training offered is too basic, and does not equip them to take an individual, entrepreneurial route to work creation.
  5. Government-funded employment support agencies appear to have a narrow view of employment – i.e. the traditional job model. Yet this reality has ceased for many, especially those approaching traditional retirement age.
  6. Most work opportunities for mature professionals are to be found in small business, often on a part-time or contract basis. Small businesses are, by and large averse to employing people in traditional, secure, superannuated relationships. They consider it is too time consuming, too difficult to define what they actually need, too expensive and too risky.
  7. The Government’s Personal Services Income legislation has made it significantly more difficult for many mature workers to organise their income generation via contracted work.
  8. The same applies with public liability and personal indemnity insurance, which prevents many mature workseekers from eligibility for contracts.
    There’s a lot of rhetoric around about keeping people in the workforce longer and information on options needs to be disseminated out to mature workers/would-be retirees as well as to the businesses which employ them.

Without significant change in attitude and practice, Australia’s ageing population may prove a burden, not a blessing.

Grace Johnson: Grace Johnson Training Services

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