Progress toward Ageism in Australia, but is it or just lipstick?

It seems we could learn something about Ageism, acceptance and manufactured false beliefs from the Australians. In an article recently posted in the Sydney Morning Herald, here are some highlights I took away:

The proportion of employers who said they were not reluctant to hire older workers has increased from 8% in 2014 to 28% in 2018.

Federal government data from January this year found 13% of Australians aged 65 and over were in the workforce. This was higher than 8% the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recorded in 2006.

Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr. Kay Patterson said while it was concerning employers were still reluctant to hire people over 50, it was encouraging to see some progress has been made.

“Age discrimination in employment is tied to damaging, dated and inaccurate ideas about older workers. It is heartening to see the age at which people define “older’ has shifted upwards to 61 years or more and that more recruiters don’t see age as a barrier,” Dr Patterson said.

My take: It’s nice to see any progress being made, but is it ever so slight? The article states that there is some increase towards not discriminating against older folks, from 8% to 28% in just the past four years.  The article also states that the increase in 65 or older in the workforce went up from 8 to 13%.  But I wonder: Are the older workers hired into entry level jobs, and thus underemployed?  Are they in those jobs because they simply must have them to survive and can’t pay their bills? Also, as more folks reach retirement age, won’t we automatically have more people in the category of “older folks working” based on the fact we are living longer and that massive global recessions and wealth erosion have occurred in both of the last two decades? Could the statistics really be telling us that this is not good news?  After all, going from 8% to 28% of employers not being “reluctant” is moving the needle in the right direction. But is it? So…72%, an overwhelming majority of the country’s employers are still reluctant. Food for thought.

What I can tell you is the fact that Ageism is a fantastic global cultural phenomenon based on false beliefs that erode a whole country’s society with no real advantages but a host of terrible disadvantages is mind boggling to see it is so widespread.

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