In economies where labour forces are rapidly ageing, one policy-relevant question regarding technological and organisational innovations has to do with their labour-market consequences: do they affect the structure of employment and, as a consequence, do they hurt the employment prospects of older workers? This study discusses and tests a set of hypotheses concerning the impact of organisational changes on the observed relative disadvantage older workers face in training opportunities. For this purpose the study uses an Australian matched employer-employee survey, AWIRS-1995, which has been uniquely designed to capture those technological and organisational change recently experienced by many other OECD economies. Drawing upon previous work on measures of technological change at the industry level the study is able to overcome the endogeneity problem detected in other studies. Finally, differently from the existing literature, the study distinguishes between technological innovation and technological diffusion.
New and important findings of this study are that, although technological innovation at the industry level cause economic obsolescence among older workers, industry level technological diffusion increases the oldest workers' training opportunities. Also, the expanded use of alternative employment arrangements (casuals and outsourcing) increases the training opportunities for workers aged 55 and plus and to a less extent, for workers aged 50 and plus. These findings suggest that there is ground for training and technology policies that reduce social exclusion, particularly in the face of substantially longer expected lives.