Job opportunities for older workers in the residential care sector are strong so there appears to be little age discrimination against them in recruitment, but it has been recognised that in the workplace age- and gender-based stereotyping challenges the efficacy of age management and generates intergenerational issues. This article focuses on the ageing of the female-dominated workforce in an Australian residential care organisation. Firstly, it argues age-based discriminatory practices are not only directed towards older workers but may also affect younger workers. Secondly, it argues older workers are not only the victims of discrimination but may discriminate against both younger and older co-workers. In doing so, they may draw on perceptions of age, gender and other attributes, including skills, qualifications and status in the organisational hierarchy. The potential policy implications of this complexity of age prejudices in terms of labour shortages and inclusive management practices are briefly discussed.
This article considers the characteristics and utility of pro-work policies targeting Australian older workers that have emerged in the context of population ageing, amid concerns that this will lead to labour shortages and an increasing social welfare burden. There has been a recent surge in public policy regarding the ageing workforce, the efficacy of which has not been tested by evaluation studies. After considering the conceptual foundations and objectives of various government initiatives, it is argued that the present public policy approach may have serious flaws that are not only detrimental to the stated overall objective of prolonging working lives, but may, in fact, be harmful to older workers and fail to address the needs of business. This stems from programs reaching only a small proportion of those older people who would potentially benefit from assistance, and from misdirected effort aimed at encouraging behavioural change on the part of employers or industries. It is argued that there is a need for greater targeting of policy efforts on the actual needs of industry and for public policy itself to become more age-aware. S (Australian Bureau of Statistics), 2010, Older People and the Labour Market, Australia, 2010 S (Australian Bureau of Statistics), 2010, General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2010