Marilyn Durant of Nortec, Mr Boots owner Adrienne Harrison and new employee Carol Morris.
Marilyn Durant of Nortec, Mr Boots owner Adrienne Harrison and new employee Carol Morris. John Gass

Age is a factor in job hunt

OLDER Australians are more likely to be struggling with long-term unemployment than younger Australians, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The findings, released in the latest issue of ABS Australian Social Trends, found that "the older unemployed people were the more likely they were to have been in long-term unemployment".

The data also showed that one-third of 55-to-64-year-old unemployed Australians were long-term unemployed, compared with just 22% of unemployed 35-to-44 year olds and 13% of unemployed 15-to-24-year-olds.

School of Arts and Social Sciences lecturer at Southern Cross University's Tweed Campus Dr Maarten Rothengatter said unemployment was an issue in the Tweed region across all age demographics.

"Who we are and where we fit in the world is strongly related to what we do for a living," he said.

Dr Rothengatter said older Australians in general were more susceptible to age discrimination.

"Potential employers have a negative attitude towards older people. Ageism is present."

Dr Rothengatter said there was an enormous social stigma associated with unemployment, which could cause people struggling with the issue to feel isolated and affected by a sense of shame.

TURSA Employment and Training manger Ron Rathborne agrees there were certain perceptions about employing older workers but said there are many benefits to hiring mature-age employees.

"They do make good, valuable workers because they appreciate being in work," he said.

"They are a great source of values, [and] experience is a pretty hard thing to beat."

Mr Rathborne said TURSA had enjoyed a lot of success in securing work for older Australians and believed negative attitudes towards them were not as prevalent any more.

NORTEC recently helped South Tweed's Mr Boots workwear store to fill a job vacancy with an older worker, who started work this week.

Mr Boots Co-owner Adrienne Harrison says the worker she hired, 51-year-old Carol Morris, had brought commitment and enthusiasm to the role.

"It's great to have someone who has retail experience," she said.


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