Joe Hockey recently released a report into age discrimination in the workplace. According to the report, “Different people experience age discrimination in different ways. Women are more likely to be perceived as having outdated skills, slow to learning new things, or more likely to perform unsatisfactorily in their job. Women are also more likely than men to report that the most recent episode of discrimination affected their self-esteem or mental health, or caused them stress.” So is offering financial incentives for employers to employ older workers going to make any difference? If these findings are correct, it would seem to me that the problem is more to do with people’s attitudes about themselves and others.
Over the years many of my clients have been older workers. They have recognised that their age could potentially be a barrier to employment – but I have also noticed is that they have made a conscious decision to get whatever help and advice they need to give themselves the best opportunity to overcome these barriers and succeed in this sphere of life.
Have you noticed that so often we get what we expect? Are you someone who expects to miss out on a job because of your age, or someone full to the brim with self-belief, expecting to compete equally with the “young ones”? Whichever one you choose, that is most likely what you will get. Your perspective is so important – being a glass half full person rather than someone who sees the glass half empty.
So as an older person looking for work, how do you prepare yourself to be successful? A positive attitude is key, and so is being willing to learn and apply new technologies and skills. A willingness to employ older people has more to do with changing individual and community attitudes, but unfortunately this cannot be achieved by offering financial incentives to employers. Food for thought…