Editor’s picks

Latest news from around the world on mature workers for June 2021.

  • America’s workforce is graying, and ageism could cost the economy trillions of dollars

    The American population is aging, and businesses will need to adapt to an older workforce. An AARP study suggests that age discrimination could cost the US economy nearly $4 trillion by 2050. However, building an age-inclusive workplace can bring benefits to businesses. This article is part of a series called “The Cost of Inequity,” examining the hurdles that marginalized and disenfranchised groups face across a range of sectors.  Business Insider 30 June 2021

  • New data shows only 49% of Australians aged 65 or older are retired. But why?

    New data published by the Councils on the Ageing (COTA) federation has revealed that only 49% of Australians aged 65 and older are retired — a marked decrease from 2018 figures where 60% of people in the age group reported they entered retirement.

    According to Marlene Krasovitsky, campaign director for advocacy group EveryAGE Counts, this national trend — considered alongside projections from a new intergenerational report (IGR) launched by federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Monday — showed concerted efforts to combat ageism in the community were needed.  Smart Company 30 June 2021

  • Multi-million dollar settlement in Deloitte age discrimination case

    A landmark age discrimination case against Deloitte will be settled out of court according to reports, with the Big Four firm paying out millions to avoid further fall-out over its widely-critisised ‘voluntary’ early retirements.

    The Big Four professional services firm will reportedly settle a troubling age discrimination case brought against it by long-time partner Colin Brown, in what the AFR has been told is a multi-million dollar deal. Originally seeking over $3 million in damages, Brown took the firm and former CEO Richard Deutsch to court in August of last year, alleging Deloitte had tried to force him into mandatory retirement at age 62.  –  Consultancy.com.au 29 June 2021

  • Intergenerational reports ought to do more than scare us — they ought to spark action

    The intergenerational reports are former treasurer Peter’s Costello’s fiscal future-proofing scheme — a five-yearly reminder that, without action, an ageing population and other changes will leave public finances looking ugly.

    The fallout from COVID means Monday’s 2021 report projects a bigger sea of red ink than the previous 2015 report. It’s a useful reminder that lifting productivity, reforming age-based tax breaks, improving migration and confronting climate change are crucial to leaving a happier legacy for the next generation.  The Conversation 29 June 2021

  • Migration recovery ‘crucial’ in fight against COVID-19 recession and ageing population

    Australia will rely on a migration-driven recovery from COVID-19 to rein in deficits for decades to come against the backdrop of an ageing population, according to latest forecasts from Treasury. The 2021 Intergenerational Report says the country’s ratio of working age to retirement age people will continue to drop. There is currently just four workers to every Australian aged over 65, with this figure expected to fall to less than three workers by 2060.  SBS News 29 June 2021

  • Smaller, older Australia need not be feared if we can crush ageism

    The new Intergenerational Report (IGR) has projected Covid will make Australia’s population smaller and older than earlier predicted, but that need not be a problem if we can take real steps to end the blight of ageism, according to the EveryAGE Counts campaign.  Mirage News 28 June 2021

  • Over 55s critical to future workforce

    Over the course of a generation, the portion of Australia’s workforce aged 55 and over has more than doubled to 19 per cent, new research shows. It’s a trend attributed to women re-entering careers mid-life and delaying retirement. By 2050, it’s expected the same age group will make up about 40 per cent of the adult population. The findings are part of an Australian Research Council brief issued ahead of the 2021 Intergenerational Report on policy sustainability due to be released this week by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.  Yahoo! News 27 June 2021

  • Confronting age prejudice (Audio)

    Is getting older a gift or a curse? What societal stigmas are attached to ageing? And how are older Australians coping during the COVID-19 pandemic?  ABC Radio podcast 27 June 2021

  • More older New Zealanders are starting businesses — and they’re motivated by more than just money

    You’re never too old to become your own boss, it seems. All over the world there has been an increase in people aged 50 and over setting up their own businesses.

    In the United States, the highest rate of business start-up activity is among those aged 55-64. Japan is reporting people aged 60-plus now comprise over one third of new entrepreneurs. In the UK, “third age” entrepreneurs are responsible for over a quarter of new start-ups.

    Similar trends have been observed in Australia, and there is also evidence businesses started by so-called “senior entrepreneurs” may have a higher survival rate than those started by younger people. Why is this happening?  The Conversation 25 June 2021

  • House of Representatives passes bill to protect older Americans in the workplace

    The House of Representatives has passed a bill aimed at protecting older Americans in the workforce by making it easier to mount age discrimination suits.

    The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act  aims to restore protections for workers age 40 and older that were eroded in a 2009 Supreme Court ruling, Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. The decade-old decision made it more difficult for older workers to prove that they’d experienced discrimination based on age.  CNBC 24 June 2021

  • Why the ‘world’s happiest country’ is seeking migrants (Finland)

    In 2009, Finland had 17 per cent of its population aged over 65 which was one the highest in the world. Finland has been experiencing an acute workforce shortage amid an ageing population. The country with a population of just 5.52 million has 39.2 over-65s per 100 working-age people, second only to Japan in the ageing population index.  WION 22 June 2021

  • How ageist stereotypes and prejudices harm the world and its economies, not just the elderly

    Ageism is costing societies billions, not just because negative stereotyping leads to increased health care costs but also because older people are being prematurely pushed out of the workforce into dependency.  South China Morning Post 19 June 2021

  • Changing patterns of work at older ages

    In this report, we provide fresh evidence on the nature of paid work at older ages, how employment patterns differ for people in different circumstances and how the situation is changing over time. In particular, we examine in depth the transitions that older workers make, both into and out of work and between different types of employment in the run-up to retirement.  – Institute for Fiscal Studies 17 June 2021

  • Japan’s older workers are motivated to work longer

    Japan’s older workers are more willing to work than their counterparts in three other countries, finds a government survey.

    Japanese aged 60 and above are more motivated to work, with 40.2% stating that they wanted to work or continue in their jobs, according to the government’s annual report on the ageing society. This compares to the United States (29.9%), Germany (28.1%), and Sweden (26.6%).

    Adopting flexible work styles, including telework, will be needed to allow more of Japan’s older workers to remain in the workforce, says the report.

    The survey was conducted from December last year to January 2021 on 1,367, 1,006, 1,043 and 1,528 seniors aged 60 and older in Japan, the U.S., Germany and Sweden, respectively.  HRM Asia 16 June 2021

  • Hiring older workers? Beware of age discrimination creeping into your recruiting practices

    Older employees have something they want to hide from prospective employers. Ninety-five percent of workers over 40 say they have tried to physically hide or mask their appearance in interviews, out of fear of being discriminated against because of their age, according to a new survey by WerkLabs.

    Ageism can be subtle, but 90% of older workers believe it is common, according to AARP. The WerkLabs study found that 75% of workers felt they were discriminated against in their job search, and 53% said ageism prevents them from being successful in their current role.  Employee Benefits News 16 June 2021

  • Making the Case for ‘Subjective Age’ in the Multigenerational Workforce

    The most significant problem with age-based generalizations is that they oversimplify and inaccurately reflect the current unprecedented age diversity of the workforce. In addition, these stereotypes assume that chronological age is more reliable than it is. But while chronological age is useful to track childhood development, it grows appreciably less predictive of personality or behavior the older we get. In other words, there are larger differences within age groups than between age groups, and this discrepancy grows as we age. Sociologists call this concept aged heterogeneity.

    Our recent research focuses on this overlooked heterogeneity. From it, we were able to create a typology of late-career employees, categorizing workers age 50 and above as Youthfuls, Matures, or Veterans, based on their behavior and performance rather than their chronological age. While members of the three groups were the same age numerically (on average, 55 years old), they scored very differently in all of the other areas we investigated, such as health, work ability, and work performance. These differences could only be explained by participants’ subjective ages — not their numeric ages.  MIT-Sloan Management Review 16 June 2021

  • Furlough end ‘is tough for older workers’ (UK)

    Older workers on furlough are more likely to struggle to find work than the young after the job support scheme comes to an end in September, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said.

    Analysis by the think tank found that employees over the age of 65 were 40 per cent more likely to have been on furlough than those in their forties and that older workers who lost their jobs would take much longer to find a new role.

    The end of furlough was “likely to be particularly tough for older workers”, the IFS said as it called on the government to help them back into employment.  The Times 16 June 2021

  • Nearly 50 per cent of businesses reluctant to employ older Australians

    If you’re older and looking for a job, you already know it’s a tough world out there. Not only are there too few vacancies, but it appears recruiters are actively discriminating against the mature applicant.

    New research published by the Australian HR Institute, together with the Human Rights Commission shows almost half of Australian businesses say they are reluctant to recruit older workers, highlighting the continuing prevalence of ageism in the workforce, despite our ageing population.  The Canberra Times 14 June 2021

  • State mulls ways to solve aging workforce issues (Kenya)

    The State appears to be waking up to the reality of an ageing workforce and older workers making up a considerable portion of the staff in public offices.

    Government is now racing against time to secure the future of these individuals whose lives after retirement hinges on social security, outlining some policy directions meant to fast-track reforms in the pension system.  PD Online 15 June 2021

  • Did you retire too early? These side jobs could pad out your budget (USA)

    Consulting, tutoring and virtual assistant gigs are among the flexible and well-paid side hustles that retirees might want to pick up.  The Los Angeles Times 12 June 2021

  • Older workers encouraged to join aged care sector as two out of five adults will be over 55 in 2050

    Aged care is highlighting its variety of roles and flexibility to suit older workers, as the sector encourages the mature workforce. The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council chief executive officer Louise O’Neill told Inside Ageing they wanted people from all backgrounds and age groups to join aged care, noting older workers brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills.  Inside Ageing 12 June 2021

  • America Needs An Older Workers Bureau

    The Covid-19 pandemic made many pre-existing economic inequalities worse, including the precarious situation of Black and non-white workers and the pressures on women to juggle work and care responsibilities. The pandemic also magnified economic pressures on vulnerable older workers, and our post-pandemic economic and equity policies must include them.  Forbes 11 June 2021

  • Should Facebook Be Held Liable if Its Advertising Algorithm Discriminates?

    A new lawsuit claims the social media giant allows bias based on gender and age. The case, filed last year, alleges that the social media giant is violating California’s sweeping public accommodations law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, by directing ads for insurance policies away from women and older users. Depriving these users of equal access to insurance products, the suit argues, constitutes gender and age discrimination. Facebook’s business model relies on its ability to direct ads to users who will click on them. If Facebook is targeting more insurance ads to men and younger users—which discovery and a trial could help determine—it’s likely because the company’s algorithm has found they are more likely to click on the ad.  Mother Jones 9 June 2021

  • Living longer, more part-time work and a booming population: NSW in 2061

    In 2061, the median age will be 44, up from 30 in 1981. A quarter of the population will be aged 65 or over and the number of centenarians will skyrocket 15-fold to more than 30,000 people, the report says.

    There will be a growth in healthcare jobs because of the ageing population and average full-time wages will be about $139,000 a year measured in 2021 dollars compared to $86,000 in 2018-19.  The Sydney Morning Herald 7 June 2021

  • Restaurants close due to Covid after retaining long standing employees (Singapore)

    Red Star Restaurant and Lai Wah Restaurant, household names in their heyday, told TODAY they were unsure for how long more they can sustain their businesses, even as Singapore appears on track to relax the latest round of restrictions that prohibit dining-in come next Sunday (June 13).

    Red Star and Lai Wah are old-school restaurants that are still employing their longtime workers well into their old age, and thus faced some difficulty reskilling their ageing workforce to meet the new demands of doing business amid the pandemic.  TODAY 6 June 2021

  • China’s ageing workforce: as the country gets older, will big tech’s ageist glass ceiling crack?

    Age discrimination in the country’s technology industry is particularly acute, with employees aged 35 and older at high risk of being laid off. With the country’s median age creeping up and amid a limited supply of young talent, pressure is increasing for the age glass ceiling to crack.  – South Chine Morning Post 6 June 2021

  • Unions Protest Breeze Airways Approval on Age, Diversity Grounds

    Labor unions have asked the federal government to review its approval of Breeze Airways to operate in the U.S., citing concerns over the discount carrier’s recruitment and employment policies.The unions said Breeze, an upstart domestic carrier founded by airline entrepreneur David Neeleman, violated age discrimination and diversity statutes with a plan to hire flight attendants solely through a tuition reimbursement, work-study program with Utah Valley University.  Bloomberg 6 June 2021

  • 20 years after its adoption, the EU Employment directive still leaves older workers behind

    New Report: The EU Employment Directive covers age as a ground of discrimination, but several lawful exemptions and justifications apply in practice. This is permitting a wide range of practices that restrict older people’s right to access or remain in the labour market.  Barriers to the equal participation in the labour market include, among others, mandatory retirement, unfavourable working conditions and forced career change beyond a certain age. National and EU courts still consider age discrimination as less severe compared to other grounds and reflect biases about the ability of older people to work.  Decisions that accept ageism in the labour market, also leave open the use of age indicators as a basis for policy or decision-making in other aspects of life, even if this harms individuals and entails unfair treatment.  Age Platform Europe June 2021

  • Age discrimination in the US: employees must still show they were fired ‘because of’ age

    The US Sixth Circuit Court has rejected an attempt to relax the standard for demonstrating age discrimination, maintaining employees must show they were fired ‘because of’ their age, not just that it was a factor in the termination.  Mondaq 28 May 2021

  • Foreign labour needed to combat population decline (Finland)

    Population projections for the next two decades produced by the Consultancy for Regional Development (MDI) suggest that Finnish municipalities face a challenging future. The report’s main trends are the sharp ageing of the Finnish population and the decline in the number of children — especially school-age children — during the 2020s. MDI says this means municipalities will require an increasing number of residents with a foreign language or a foreign background. MDI’s population forecasts present a picture of a more international Finland, as the population growth of the whole country over the coming decades will be based entirely on the increase in the number of people born abroad.  Uutiset 2 June 2021

  • The end of the population pyramid

    Fears about a declining birthrate reflect a twentieth-century view of how the economy works.

    A realistic model of the future workforce is one in which productive workers are mostly aged between twenty-five and seventy. Given that life expectancy will never be much above ninety-five, the typical person will spend about half their life in the working-age population and the other half evenly divided between education and retirement. Inside Story 1 June 2021

  • China’s coercive population measures serve as warning for India: Experts

    “India can learn from China’s failed experience of enforcing coercive population policies. Stringent population control measures have landed China in a human crisis that was inevitable. If coercive measures like a two-child limit are enforced, India’s situation could be worse,” says Poonam Muttreja of Population Foundation of India. “Within three decades, we will end up with the same issues of an ageing population and very few people to take care of them. In Sikkim and Lakshadweep we will be facing similar challenges of an ageing population as well as shrinking workforce given that they have low fertility rates.”  – The Hindu 1 June 2021