Getting older and, let’s say, wiser is usually something that we want to celebrate. However, ageism is a real form of discrimination in the workplace. Mostly, women will be affected more than men when it comes to finding a job or changing careers in later life.

In a 2021 report, the Australian Council of Social Service found that women were the most affected by unemployment:

“Successive government policies have shifted older workers onto unemployment payments, especially women aged 60 years or more who previously received the Age Pension. This explains why 55% of those on unemployment payments who have received income support for five years or more are women.”

A lot must be done to tackle ageism in the workplace and even in the hiring process, especially for women who are more directly affected by it. So how can you stand out and have the edge and worth in the workplace?

How can you stand out?

There are many benefits to employing mature workers, including outstanding work ethics, strong communication skills, problem-solving, organisation skills and mentoring younger people. So how can you, a mature aged worker, show all these skills and start getting those callbacks again?

  • Having the proper resume and cover letter that demonstrates your qualities, experiences and skills
  • Showing how you can cope in complex situations and how you manoeuvre around obstacles
  • Demonstrating your knowledge and experience to better cognitive functioning, which contributes to superior work performance
  • Showcasing strong people skills and the ability to speak openly and see the big picture
  • Updating/upskilling any courses or knowledge about your desired field of work to stay relevant
  • Showing flexibility to change by adopting a positive mindset when thinking about what your career will look like as you age
  • Staying up to date with the latest employment trends and news so you know what’s in demand and what skills sets are so you can upskill or re-skill

Ageism in Australia

In today’s world, there’s a perception that mature waged workers – people aged 55 and over – are just waiting for retirement. There’s this view that people in that age bracket are unwilling, unable, or disengaged with modern technology and development. However, this is far from the truth.

As we know, most Australians are living longer and healthier and are willing and wanting to work longer. There’s only one problem: most of these people struggle to find jobs or get callbacks after the application process. While the year of your birth certificate shouldn’t determine if you get a job or not, it’s worth noting that some workplaces will discriminate against age – known as ageism.

The impact of the pandemic pushed more mature-aged workers out of the workforce. And when jobs were available, most workplaces were looking for the younger demographic. According to the report, most employers were reluctant to employ older people despite the labour shortage.

Remember to stay relevant and upskill when you need to. It’s your responsibility to adopt continuous learning and the right mindset to stay up to date with trends and re-skills so you can enhance your employability. Career Stylr will lead you in the right direction with your resume, cover letter and career options.

  • Every Age Counts: Stories and resources on working in your later years
  • Working for everyone: Working It Out Tool – designed to support you when you are looking for work,
  • Resources such as how-to guides and research links
  • My Skills: Search for training courses, Guidance on the average training fees for a course and a list of training providers who deliver that course
  • Job Outlook:  Career quiz – to help you think about your work preferences and get career ideas, Career profiles – to learn about the future outlook, pay, main tasks, and physical and other demands of careers, Explore industries – to learn about the different industries you can work in and what kinds of jobs there are in those fields, Future outlook – to find industries and jobs expected to grow
  • Fair Work Ombudsman: Guidance on unpaid work and volunteering, Guidance on the minimum pay and conditions for work in the sector
  • ANU Working Well Working Wisely project: Major collaboration between national policy portfolios and expert scientists in work, health, social equality and policy process to develop interventions that can capitalise on older Australians’ skills and expertise, boost their economic participation while minimising later health and aged-care costs.
  • Heath Checks: Helps people aged 45 to 65 assess health, finances, work and social connections and access information and resources to assist with preparing

Camila Griffin is an experienced journalist and content writer who expresses herself through the power of words. She graduated from The University of Queensland in 2008 and further her studies at Griffith University in 2015. As a content writer, her goal is to write compelling stories to showcase her clients' work.