Background to Work45+

Evidence shows that older people start experiencing age-related barriers to work from just 45. Studies by the Australian Human Rights Commission have found that many employers are reluctant to hire older workers. And when older people become unemployed, on average they take much longer than younger people to find another position.

Tasmanians aged over 45 make a huge contribution to our way of life and economy. At the last Census, in 2016, nearly half the residents and workers in our State were aged over 45.

Despite this, older job seekers tell us they sometimes feel like employers jump to conclusions about them because of their age.
This is unfortunate, because employers who overlook applicants aged over 45 risk missing opportunities to improve their business, strengthen its brand and make stronger connections with customers, clients and partners.

At the same time, employers and recruiters tell us older job seekers do not always present themselves in applications and interviews as well as they might.

Work45+ was created by COTA Tasmania following focus group consultation with older job seekers, employers and job service providers. It includes information they believe will help more older job seekers be employed and valued. By presenting information for older job seekers and employers in a single website, we hope Work 45+ will lead to more positive experiences and outcomes for both.

Work45+ was developed with the assistance of the Department of State Growth. It is maintained by COTA Tasmania.

The focus group consultations with Tasmanian job seekers aged over 45, employers and employment service providers were facilitated by Julia Curtis (Curtis and Associates) and Calvin Frith (Mushemi Impact Consulting). COTA Tasmania thanks everyone who participated in these focus groups for giving their time so generously, and sharing their experiences and views.

Minister for Community Development launches Work45+

Hello, Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Community Development.

I’m here today to launch an important new website with Council of the Ageing Tasmania – Work45+

This initiative was developed by COTA Tasmania with the assistance of the Tasmanian Government, in consultation with job seekers, employers and employment service providers.

Work45+ is a one-stop information hub aimed at older Tasmanian job seekers, employers and recruiters.

The website outlines the support which is available to job seekers and employers alike.

The website includes information on the Tasmanian Government’s programs to help people to get into the workforce.

This includes our

  • Rapid Response Skills Initiative
  • Skills Matching Service
  • Train Now Fund; and our
  • Tourism and Hospitality Training Fund.

For job seekers, the website includes information on career planning to help identify training options, to be competitive in the job market as the economy recovers.

Importantly, for employers, Work45+ dispels stereotypes about older job seekers.

As the website points out, older workers are – among many things – productive and are often great mentors.

Work45+ also includes a section on confidence and wellbeing, vitally important as older people who may never have been unemployed before attempt to navigate a jobs market highly disrupted by COVID-19.

Work45+ includes a dedicated COVID-19 section with information about crisis support and training opportunities.

By presenting information for older job seekers and employers in a single website, Work 45+ will contribute to more positive experiences and outcomes for both older job seekers and employers, which will become even more important as we head into recovery.

Thank you.

COTA CEO Sue Leitch welcomes you to Work45+

SUE LEITCH – Work 45 Plus is a one-stop information hub for job seekers and employers.

Evidence tells us that people start to experience barriers in accessing work from about the age of 45.

This is remarkable to me, given that 45 could be, typically, halfway through someone’s typical working life.

TEXT CARD – Unemployed people of every age face challenges. Older people who lose their job are more likely than other age groups to experience long term unemployment.

SUE LEITCH – But even if you’re pension age when you lose your job, you might still want to keep working for another 10 years. There’s no law that says you have to stop work when you’re 67.

TEXT CARD – Many employers stereotype older workers, failing to realise the advantages of an age diverse workforce.

SUE LEITCH – When we looked at all the research showing older workers make fantastic employees, we knew that we needed to do something to change stereotypes that were keeping too many older job seekers out of work.

In trying to figure out what could be done, COTA Tasmania asked people about their experience.

We talked to older Tasmanians who were unemployed.

TEXT CARD – Older jobs seekers said they felt judged instead of valued for their age.

Many said they felt dispirited by employers who failed to give feedback after interviews.

SUE LEITCH – We talked to employers who do value older workers.

TEXT CARD – Employers told us mature-aged staff contribute to a positive culture.

Evidence shows older workers are hard working, loyal and safety conscious.

SUE LEITCH – We talked to recruiters and job service providers. They told us older job seekers often talked too much about their work history rather than the skills they brought to this position and what their job aspirations were.

When we came to the end of our consultations, we knew we needed to build a website that was friendly and easy to navigate – something of benefit to both job seekers and employers.

Work 45 Plus is the result.

It has practical tips to help job seekers do better in interviews and make choices around careers and training.

For employers, it counters myths with evidence and shows there’s support out there to hire older people and to train them.

And perhaps most Importantly, it changes the narrative.

As our consultant’s Julia Curtis and Calvin Frith wrote, “the first step is for employers and job seekers to empathise, hear each other’s viewpoint, and understand the ‘why’ behind each other’s approach.”

So please send us your suggestions on content that will continue to help older jobs seekers be valued and employed.

Whether you’re a job seeker or employer, I hope Work 45 Plus works for you, and contributes to better outcomes.

TEXT CARD – COTA Tasmania would like to thank all involved in the development of Work45+, including our reference group.

Work45+ was developed by COTA Tasmania with the assistance of the Department of State Growth, Tasmania.

Sue Leitch Welcome Video Credit:
  • Film maker: Lucy East

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