Submission to “Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians”
I submitted the following, via the group Seniorpreneurs to this inquiry. (they asked for 300 words only)
Having 20 years of experience as a change manager in corporate and government jobs has not been enough to get me a job in this field, or any other field since I was retrenched in September 2014. At 61 years old, after unsuccessfully going for permanent, contract and temporary jobs in my field, I tried to utilise my extensive skill set and previous career experiences to step sideways and downwards into other jobs that I know I could easily do. I even tried to get temporary office work.
I did not get one interview with an employer, even when represented by an agency. I’ve had friends say employers don’t want someone older and more experienced than the respective manager, as you might show them up. No matter that we are comfortable adapting to the needs of any situation when we need to, this is seen as ‘not a good cultural fit”.
My job services agency could do nothing. They continually mentioned that I could do volunteering, obviously knowing that I would not be successful in finding a position and pushing me in this direction. One man I met in a similar situation said his job services agency would tear up his job applications and not forward them to prospective employers.
I initially considered volunteering out-of-the-question because I needed money to stay in a private rental that I had easily afforded when working. Now my retrenchment money has run out, and I have had to get money out of my Superannuation on hardship grounds and begin to look for cheap accommodation. I am looking down the barrel of homelessness if I cannot find this. Neither Newstart nor the Aged Pension will be sufficient for private rental, and it’s a shock and emotionally demoralising to realise what a difficult situation I am now in. I am very concerned and anxious for my future. I have commenced ‘volunteering’, however I know the agency I do this for has qualms about the ethics of this when we are forced to do this as part of a requirement to receive Newstart. In their mind it is not truly voluntary.