Age Discrimination: Invisible but Harmful

October 7, 2009

Age Discrimination is a pervasive barrier to workplace participation. Given that the official age at which a person is considered to be a mature worker is 45, age discrimination is likely to affect us earlier than we think.

Commissioner Broderick notes, ‘it is an accepted and incorrect stereotype that older people are slower to learn and harder to train’. It is important that this perception is addressed swiftly and pervasively, particularly given Australia’s aging labour force. By 2010 it is expected that 4 out of 10 people in our labour force will be 45 and over. The increase in the age pension to 67 also signifies an expectation and a need for Australians to work longer.

Age discrimination is entrenched, and thus invisible. The Commissioner states that we need to make this invisible problem visible; she suggests that ways to achieve this includes investing in research, communicating the existence of this problem, and a consideration of legislative and policy reforms to address this problem.

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