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Briefing paper

Employers need better strategies to seize the opportunities that an older workforce presents and turn it to their competitive advantage. Failing to adapt would be costly to individuals, firms, and society. Governments can help with a more strategic approach, continuing to support health, mainstream lifelong learning, and address shortcomings related to regulation, incentives and labour market programs.

The brief is set out in four parts:

  • Part 1 sets the macro demographic context, presenting past trends and projections for the future. These combine population, participation, and productivity, in what is known as the 3P framework, to show that more mature workers could increase economic prosperity.
  • Part 2 outlines trends relating to health, caring, education, and social attitudes, which are some of the commonly cited examples of barriers to work. 
  • Part 3 assesses outcomes for older workers in Australia compared to other countries, to prime-age workers, and over time. These imply that the age-friendliness of Australia’s labour market is lagging, and that, while there are positive signs of progress, some mature workers, particularly women, continue to experience poor outcomes. 
  • Part 4 presents research on what employers can do to respond.
Publication Details
Access Rights Type:
CEPAR Research Brief June 2021