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New website breaks down barriers to mature-aged employment

COUNCIL of the Ageing (COTA) Tasmania has launched a new website to break down the barriers between older job seekers and employers.

Work45+ is a one-stop information hub to help older job seekers and employers achieve better outcomes.

The project commenced development last year, but became more relevant in recent times as COVID-19 led to significant job losses in Tasmania.

COTA chief executive officer Sue Leitch said COTA Tasmania wanted older Tasmanians to have the best chance they can of getting back to work as the economy recovered.

“Unemployed Tasmanians of every age encounter challenges, but for older people, one of the biggest hurdles is ageism,” she said.

“It’s hard to believe, but people start facing age-related barriers to work as young as 45.

“Once an older person loses their job, they are more likely than others to be unemployed long term, yet research shows older workers are productive, loyal and safety-conscious.”

A 2018 Australian Human Rights Commission report found too many employers were reluctant to hire people over the age of 50.

Ms Leitch said there was a strong argument that businesses do better if they reflect the age demographic of their community.

In Tasmania, this means having a mix of staff that includes older workers.

The Work45+ website is easy to navigate and was developed in consultation with job seekers aged over 45, employers and employment service providers.

During the consultation, older Tasmanians who were unemployed said they felt judged instead of valued for their age.

They were especially dispirited by employers who failed to give them feedback after interviews.

Employers who do value older workers talked about the rewards to businesses of having mature-aged employees.

They said job seekers needed to find ways to be more positive and targeted in their interviews.

For employers, the new website includes:

Tips to create an age-diverse workplace;

Information about support available to hire and train older workers;

Resources to improve recruitment practices;

Details of rights and responsibilities;

COVID-19 news for employers.

For older job seekers, the portal has information and links to help:

Improve job searches;

Identify existing skills that might suit a different industry;

Make career plans;

Find and finish training;

Write a strong resume that’s brief but relevant;

Practice interviews and ask for feedback;

Find out about support in the COVID-19 recovery.

For more information, visit www.work45plus.org.au.