Paying for experience: why we need bribing to hire someone over 50

 Extracted from BRW – Published 15 May 2014 13:04, Updated 16 May 2014 11:02Sha

How much would it cost to get you to overcome your biases? Would $10,000 do it?

Well, common sense and reason hasn’t managed to convince employers to hire experienced and willing people – So maybe a $10,000 bonus payment from this new budget to employers willing to hire someone of 50 years or more (for two years) will be enough to help them overcome their distaste for wrinkles.

Actually – as an aside – a few years ago, some friends and I decided to celebrate my birthday at a trendy bar at The Rocks and we were delighted to be asked if we would like to go straight to the VIP room.

We were whisked through the crowd upstairs into a darkened space. . . filled with people with bifocals and sensible shoes. For a nano-second, I was taken aback, but then we noticed the comfy lounges and lack of din.

Snug as a bug in a rug, dearie.

Anyway, where were we? Yes, back to the bonus payment. The amount – $1000 – offered by the previous Labor government was definitely not enough to get employers to hire someone my age.

Heidi Holmes, the managing director of mature age recruitment service, Adage, says she never had an employer ask her about that scheme.

Prejudices remain

Holmes says the good thing about the new and bigger incentive payment is that it creates a discussion and “may turn the heads of some employers”.

However, she warns these sorts of payments can be misconstrued as “compensation”, which doesn’t help educate people out of their prejudices.

Holmes says older workers are more loyal than younger ones and are a better return on investment when it comes to training and on-boarding.

Mature age unemployment is a big problem and it is getting worse. It now takes people over the age of 55 an average 73 weeks to get a new job, says Holmes.

That is a long time to be burning through a redundancy payout. “We need to create job opportunities,” she says.

And, with government plans to raise the pension age to 70, those who haven’t been able to salt away enough money to fund an earlier retirement find themselves in the impossible situation: they are forced to keep working if they want any decent quality of life, but they are in a job market that wishes they would just go fishing.

If people have to delay their retirement (and most would prefer to stop on their 57th birthday), the jobs have to be there. And employers also have to get over their infatuation with youth.


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