The longevity revolution is underway, inexorably. The number of Australians aged 65 and over is projected to more than double by 2055, when there will be around 40,000 people aged 100 and over. Life expectancy continues to increase. In 2055, men can expect to live on average to 95.1 and women to 96.6.
Awareness amongst the community, business leaders and our policy makers of these dramatically changed demographics has barely dawned. Little is in place to harness the opportunities these changes present. What is required is the removal of all those barriers that prevent older Australians from participating in the workforce for as long as they want to.
Age discrimination is a significant barrier.
This research will become the benchmark against which we can measure future gains in addressing age discrimination.
The results show that over a quarter of Australians aged 50 years and over report that they had experienced some form of age discrimination in the last two years.
Another headline finding is that 80 per cent of those who experienced age discrimination report negative impacts. When managers were asked if they factored age into their decision making, a third responded that they did.
When looking at the actions people took in response to discrimination, it was found that many took no action at all. The majority of people who did not take action reported that it was because they did not expect a positive outcome, doubting they would be believed or that anything could be done.
The research confirmed anecdotal evidence that age discrimination is most commonly experienced when older people are out of a job and looking for paid work. Nearly three in five (58%) of those who looked for paid work were a target of discrimination because of their age.