“Too old” – Headhunter
“Technologically challenged” – Recruitment agent
“Not flexible enough” – HR Manager
“I’m not employing any old hags! I want to see some leg and firm boobs” – Company CEO
“Too old to learn” – Department Manager
And so on. Starting to see the picture?
This is an excerpt from an AAP article:
If Australians in their 50s are struggling to find work, then raising the pension age to 70 is "off in dreamland", a seniors group says.
After the release of the intergenerational report, National Seniors Australia chief Michael O'Neill says a bigger effort is needed to hire older Australians.
He said raising the pension age was a legitimate debate but difficult when those in their 50s were being discriminated against now.
Here’s another alarming one from an Older Workers site:
Mature age unemployment twice as long
The federal government’s plan to create jobs for older Australians will have to overcome decades of entrenched habits. Bad habits.
The government plans to introduce a $10,000 subsidy for employers who hire workers aged over 50, in a program it calls Restart. But according to the hard data, discrimination against older workers has been around so long it’s practically rusted onto the national psyche.
And yet another from the ABC:
More than 200,000 Australians aged over 50 are now on the dole, new figures show, with the number of older Australians receiving unemployment benefits dramatically increasing in the past four years.
After 30 years in the field of Human Resources I’ve seen it all—and when I turned 45 I started to feel the age discrimination in the labour market catching up with me.
A trick we “oldies” sometimes use is to cut at least 10 or more years off our resumes and not state our age. Well, guess what? The recruiter will simply look at your education details and work out how old you are. If you don’t provide completion dates for your education, they automatically assume you’re old. If you don’t state your age they assume you’re old, and if you do state your age—they know for certain you’re old. Talk about a rock and a hard place.
Meanwhile, MDs and CEOs of companies continue to get older—and many are incredibly technologically challenged to the point that they must get their emails typed by their PAs—either this or their emails are badly worded and full of typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Plus the majority of MDs and CEOs are still male. So much for gender equality in the higher echelons of the workplace. But this is another story for another day.
In the meantime, the Human Rights Commission and the federal government keep scratching their heads as to what to do with a fast ageing population, not to mention how they will become a burden to society because of more and more people claiming the age pension. Of course the government conveniently forgets that during their working lives the oldies always paid their taxes to maintain those before them who were on age pension or on unemployment benefits.
The government’s band aid approach is to raise the age of eligibility for the age pension. So now anyone who was born after 1965 will have to work until they are 70 before they can claim age pension. But here’s the rub—if no one wants you after you’ve passed the 45 or 50-year-age mark, what will you live on until you reach 70? Not to mention that for the next 20 years your superannuation will not grow because you are not employed, and therefore no one is contributing to it.
That’s right—you’re supposed to live on unemployment benefits at approximately $258 per week, and be subjected to the most horrible of humiliations when you are forced to attend utterly useless courses run by job network providers who are desperate to place you in a job because they get paid by the government whenever they place someone--although sometimes they simply keep the money for themselves and they forget all about the person they were meant to help. I recently saw a news story about this latest scam.
I had to explain to them, while trying to hold my temper, that I would be happy to actually design, write and facilitate the seminar for them, and do a hell of a better job than they ever could, seeing as not only have I been exposed to many industries during my career and have been both a trainer AND a lecturer aside from being a senior manager in the field of human resources, but I also design my own websites, write SEO-optimised online content when I get a freelance writing gig, and I am extremely savvy at networking online and social media. Oh, and I self-published 6 fiction novels, which I formatted myself and even designed the covers! They looked away from the rage in my eyes and nicely told me I would be exempt from attending the seminar. Hah!
On another note, the government has recently introduced (or is about to introduce) a rebate of $10K for any employer who hires a person over 50. Well, it seems employers don’t want the money (which doesn’t come all at once, by the way. You get a little at the point of hiring and the rest after two years of service for the person you employed). This hasn’t changed anything nor has it dissolved the perception that younger workers are better than their older counterparts.
In truth, I don’t know why employers think this seeing as older workers can be just as up to date with knowledge and technology as younger workers, plus older workers have something that younger workers (no matter how brilliant they are) will never have while they are young—it’s the little “w” word: wisdom.
Wisdom seems to be highly underrated these days. Life experience is invaluable in a job, especially in a role where one has to deal with people problems. So I don’t see a 20-something manager handling a grievance or disciplinary procedure as well as someone older and wiser. In fact, I’ve been thrown into many situations where I had to salvage badly handled cases by younger HR Managers that led to unfair dismissal, sexual harassment and discrimination claims due to their inexperience in these most of sensitive areas.
That’s just it—you can never please them. Besides, it’s quite true that many an executive burned out by the corporate world really and truly wants simplicity in what they do for a job until retirement.
But you don’t have to be an ageing executive to be treated like a second-class citizen who’s rapidly turning into a leper. Try a secretary, a receptionist, a food and beverage attendant, a handyperson, a cleaner, etc, etc. In fact, pretty much any job these days seems to be off limits to anyone over that most horrid of ages—the big five oh. And no, I’m not talking about the TV cop show filmed in Hawaii.
So what is the answer to this most perplexing of enigmas? It seems okay for MDs, CEOs and politicians to be older. The same goes for doctors, surgeons, etc. I mean, who wants to be operated on by a 12-year-old, right? Ahh!, you say, but surgeons must be older because they have much more experience. The same goes for many successful MDs and CEOs. But what happens to the rest of us?
I leave you with this thought. You know the old saying: “A woman is like a fine red wine, she improves with age.” What they don’t tell you is that in the workplace a woman simply turns into an old hag who’s trying to take away the job of a gen y’er. And get this, while the average gen y’er changes jobs at least once a year or so, and while many female gen y’ers are getting pregnant and taking maternity leave, who out of the two groups (babyboomers or gen y’ers) is the most loyal, wiser, hard working, experienced in life, respectful and carrying on with the strong work ethic of our forebears, etc, etc?
Now, before you jump out of your chair and scream bloody murder at me—no, I don’t have anything against young mothers or gen y’ers in general. In fact, where I work (Ahem... I mean where I'm lucky to freelance right now) we go out of our way to accommodate young mothers, and we have some excellent gen y’er workers. So don’t get your knickers in a knot, people. We love you too.
As for men, well, most of them seem to scrape by due to the “old boys club” mentality that is still alive and well in our society. It is, after all, a man’s world no matter how much women think they have progressed since Victorian times. So the old boys in high places will ensure they look after members of their exclusive club. But boys who don’t cut the grade will have to continue lining up with the old hags at the dole queue until an employer takes pity and hires them.
Either that or we simply drop dead of old age while we’re waiting for a recruiter to get back to us regarding our millionth job application.