Ageism hinders employment opportunities in Australia

Older employees are denied the same opportunities as their younger counterparts, despite having the ability to perform as well, if not better.
By: | May 3, 2023

Ageism is a significant barrier for older employees trying to find employment in Australia, with one in six organisations not considering hiring people aged 65 and above.

According to the 2023 Employing and Retaining Older Workers Survey conducted by the Australian HR Institute (AHRI) and the Australian Human Rights Commission, just over half (56%) of HR professionals were open to recruiting people aged 50-64 “to a large extent”, while 18% said they would be open to recruiting from the same age cohort “to a small extent” or not at all.

The reluctance to hire older employees contradicts the lived experience of employing them, according to the study. Many HR professionals reported no difference between older and younger employees in terms of job performance, concentration, ability to adapt to change, energy levels, and creativity. Respondents also recognised the advantages of older employees when it came to coping with stress, attendance, reliability, awareness, commitment, and loyalty.

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Dr Kay Patterson, Age Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission, said, “Many older employees can offer the knowledge, skills, and wisdom that organisations are currently seeking. Employers just need to shift their perspective, trust the data, and stop buying into myths about older employees.”

“Employers who lead by example and embrace age diversity will reap the rewards in terms of productivity, innovation, problem-solving, and workforce stability.”