Seeking Better Outcomes for Boomer Workers | real issues and real solutions

Seeking Better Outcomes for Boomer Workers

Boomers and the Workforce: real issues and real solutions


Age discrimination against mature-age workers is endemic, yet older workers deliver great value to their workplaces - in particular experience, knowledge and attitudes such as reliability and loyalty.

That is the overwhelming message from the 60 Baby Boomers at COTA SA's August forum Boomers and the Workforce: A Conversation.

The participants were a mixture of employed, unemployed and retired workers.

Many of the participants had not been part of this sort of consultation before, yet it was clear that everyone had an appetite to have a voice and to share their experiences.

They told us of real issues from their own experiences in sectors such as retail, training, the police force, local government, and a myriad more.

"Age discrimination and workplace flexibility were the two issues of major concern raised on the night," said Jessie Byrne, COTA SA Policy Manager.

"The conclusion was that ageism was not just in the workplace but in the employment marketplace. People were concerned that they couldn't get past recruitment agencies to employers.

"Once in employment, the opportunities for training and employment were often withheld if they were older and there was a general lack of respect for the great value mature-age workers brought.

"Other concerns included the physical demands of work and balancing work with carer responsibilities."

Participants were asked to recommend actions that could be undertaken immediately by government, COTA SA, employers or workers themselves to improve both work conditions and recruitment for Boomer workers.

Among the solutions were:

  • include components on respecting and valuing workers of all ages in work induction programs 
  • use non-stereotypical images of mature-workers in state and local government publications, such as older workers up ladders and using IT
  • consider quotas for mature-age workers in workplaces
  • undertake a statewide promotions campaign about the value of older workers.

COTA SA will review the ideas and actions arising from the event and develop an action plan to further the rights and outcomes for mature-age employees, including through our new Employment for the Ages project.

The forum was funded by the Office for the Ageing.