This information sheet is designed to challenge the misconceptions workers have about ageing, health and mature workers. This fact sheet may be used to:
• challenge assumptions, negative attitudes and stereotypes about mature age workers
• promote the valuable skills, knowledge and experience of mature age workers
• raise workplace awareness of the business benefit of mature age workers
• support workforce participation and retention of mature age workers
Why is this important?
Challenging stereotypical beliefs can influence attitudes towards the training, promotion and retention of older workers1. Participation and engagement of all workers, regardless of age, is important for a productive, inclusive Australia. Whether real or perceived, age discrimination can influence older workers to self-select out of the labour market.
MOST MATURE AGE WORKERS CAN’T WAIT TO RETIRE
• A large number of APS workers (23%) are eligible to retire over the next ten years2
• Experienced workers are valuable, and they need training throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and relevant to a changing environment
• Older workers in general are less likely to have formal qualifications and have learned informally from a lifetime’s experience
• Performance problems which appear to be age-related may in fact be due to lack of support from managers, or unmet training needs
• Training is worthwhile- a worker of 54 years may have at least another decade in work to use their new skills and they are less likely than younger workers to change jobs, seeing an employer’s investment in their training as a sign of commitment6
• Employers are required to identify and address health and safety risks for all workers, and regardless of age, are required to provide reasonable adjustments for workers identified with a disability4
• Victorian research shows the rate of work related injury peaks at ages 45 to 54 and declines with older age5
• Some physically demanding tasks become more difficult with age. However, with changes in work practices, technology and health and safety, if well managed, most peoples’ capacity to work does not decline significantly before 65, with many remaining very productive long after that6
• For most people, stress levels go down after the mid 40’s, and some of the indicators of stress, such as short term absenteeism, decline as people age6
MATURE AGE WORKERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO WORK PART-TIME
• In the APS, mature age workers are far less likely to be employed on a part-time basis and less likely to be very satisfied with access to flexible working arrangements2.
• Mature age workers have reported that they would prefer greater access to flexible working arrangements if they were to lead a longer, productive life of work3.
MATURE AGE WORKERS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN YOUNGER WORKERS
• Although there may be a larger percentage of mature age workers paid at a higher base salary, cost efficiencies are often made through: