ACU a leader in "golden age" employment
The Australian Catholic University is one of a number of major employers that have woken up to the potential of older workers, according to a Swinburne University academic.
Writing in The Age Philip Taylor, professor of employment policy at Swinburne University of Technology, who has been researching issues of age and work for almost 20 years, asks whether Australian older workers now entering a "golden age" of employment opportunity.
"Should we conclude that Australian business has woken up to the potential of older workers?" Professor Taylor asks.
"There are certainly positive signs", he says, "with organisations such as Westpac, the Australian Catholic University and Brisbane City Council, among others, aiming to recruit and retain older workers."
According to Professor Taylor the "truncation" of working life was one consequence of the massive restructuring of industry in the 1980s and 1990s.
"Among European nations, this was underpinned by the implementation of a range of government-sponsored early retirement pathways that were designed to create vacancies for younger people," he says.
"As well as being largely unsuccessful, their legacy was a culture of early retirement that policymakers are struggling to overcome today.
"In Australia, many of those shaken out by industry were forced to look for work when their jobs ended. Large numbers were jobless for long periods, hanging on for the relative security of an age pension.
Recently, however, equal opportunity laws in many countries including Australia have enshrined the "right" to work for older workers.
"Many countries have implemented employment programs for older workers and awareness campaigns have been aimed at presenting a business case for employing older labour," Professor Taylor says.
In Australia too recent progress has been achieved with employment rates among men aged 55 to 64 rising sharply according to Federal Treasurer Peter Costello.
Job prospects on rise for older workers (The Age, 25/5/07)
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Australian Catholic University
Philip Taylor, Swinburne
25 May 2007