Wagga businesswoman Judy Galloway says discrimination in the workplace still exists and deep-seated stereotypes about older workers needs to change.
The latest Australian Human Rights Commission survey on age discrimination found more than half of jobseekers aged 50 and over reported being targets of age discrimination.
The report said negative attitudes towards older workers could be a “dramatic” problem for an ageing population and the longer life expectancy of Australians.
Ms Galloway said there were more than 3000 older workers registered with her nationwide employment and training business Sureway.
“There’s a number of mature-age workers that are super-geared,” she said.
“There’s just not enough super to last for 20 or 30 years.”
A Wagga woman who said she had experienced age discrimination, Carol Limbrick, went through 30 job applications in the last eight months with no interview.
“Not one interview,” she said.
“I honestly think it’s because of my age. I couldn’t get past the application stage.
Ms Limbrick said she had a skill set across sales, management and recruitment, but could not secure basic office work.
She decided to undertake an aged care course and is in her first week of placement.
Ms Galloway said cases such as Ms Limbrick’s were common because recruiters carried a “mindset” that older workers were incapable of learning new skills.
“What you have to do is change that mindset,” she said.
“It takes people pressure.”
Ms Galloway said older workers were often “more settled” in their communities and homes and were not as mobile as younger people, who had the flexibility to go ahead with new pursuits because of their life stage.
Ms Limbrick agreed she was capable of learning new technology-based skills.
“I think employers need to be more service with their recruitment and really go for the right fit,” she said.
“It could be the youngest person, it could be the oldest person, but be fair.”
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