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
In this article we explore the importance of ‘everyday discrimination’ and other psycho-social variables for psychological wellbeing, considering differences according to age, gender and socio-economic position. Using employee survey data collected within Australian organisations we explore a statistically reliable model of the relationship between aspects of the psycho-social work environment, psychological wellbeing and job satisfaction. The employee survey was carried out in two phases during mid-2007 and mid-2008 in a national university, two international freight terminals of a large international airline, a national manufacturing company and the roadside assistance division of a motoring organisation. Structural Equation Modelling was used to configure a model including psycho-social factors: respect, support, training, job insecurity and personally meaningful work. Everyday discrimination and consultation with supervisor were considered in terms of their direct effect on psychological wellbeing and job satisfaction and their indirect effect via the psycho-social factors enumerated above. Importantly, this generalised model attempts to describe the interrelations of these factors effectively for various age groups, gender and socio-economic position. We identify age, gender and socio-economic differences in the strength and relative importance of these relationships. A further validation study with an independent sample will be required to verify the model proposed in this article. The implications for the design of workplace interventions concerned with age discrimination are discussed.