Existing policy responses to workforce age discrimination tend to focus on the role of employers in providing opportunities for jobseekers aged over 45. By contrast this research project focuses on employment services and how their staff might work more effectively with mature-age jobseekers.

Older jobseekers may be seen as difficult to place and therefore be liable to ‘parking’ by employment services. As the frontline staff now tend to be younger and have fewer qualifications, our previous research suggested that their age mismatch with older jobseekers may give rise to unconscious bias.

This study deepens our understanding of the barriers and pathways that lead older Australians to be long-term unemployed. It will document the level and quality of current case management practices and evaluate the effectiveness of the current service model in supporting workforce access and participation for older men and women.

The findings have informed a range of learning resources for employment services staff, aimed at enhancing intergenerational awareness and enabling them to support mature age jobseekers to find work. They will also inform policy advocacy to improve outcomes for mature-age and other disadvantaged jobseekers.

The research team spoke to mature age jobseekers and jobactive staff in four employment regions (Western Melbourne, North Eastern Melbourne, and parts of Inner Metropolitan Melbourne and South Eastern Melbourne).

The two-year project is supported by funding from the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation and the cooperation of Jobs Australia.

Working for everyone workforce image


Working for everyone

An important outcome of this research is the website Working for everyone.

It illustrates the situations of mature age jobseekers with videos and case studies, and explains key changes to the labour market over the past four decades.

The Working It Out Tool enables a jobseeker to create a personalised action plan for their job search. A range of how-to-guides are provided for jobseekers and those who assist them.

For further information about the project

Contact: Dina Bowman dbowman(at)bsl.org.au (03) 9483 1373

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