Dr Dina Bowman to discuss mature age jobseekers and employment services at the 2015 Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference

Concurrent Session Chair: Dr Dina Bowman, Senior manager, Research and Policy Centre, Brotherhood of St Laurence

Concurrent Session Time: Monday 9 November, 2.02pm – 2.32pm

Abstract: Opening the gate: mature age jobseekers and employment services

Policy responses to mature-age unemployment tend to focus on incentives for employers to hire mature-age workers and on challenging ageist attitudes held by employers. The impact of employment services as intermediaries between mature-age jobseekers and employers has yet to be properly understood or addressed.

The report of the review into Commonwealth legal barriers to mature-age persons participating in the workforce or other productive work, Access all ages (ALRC 2013) observed that labour market intermediaries perform a critical gate-keeping function that can exclude mature-age workers. The Inquiry heard mature-age job seekers are not receiving the appropriate employment assistance and many feel their age means they are not treated with respect (ALRC 2013.)

This presentation reports on a recently completed ARC Linkage study that examined workforce vulnerabilities in midlife and beyond. The study was conducted by researchers at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, University of Melbourne, Curtin University, in partnership with Jobs Australia. It provides insight into mature-job-seekers – often but not always negative – experience of employment services. The presentation highlights the importance of building greater awareness of the circumstances and needs of mature-age jobseekers and suggests some practical steps to more effectively assist them.

The Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference will be held on the 9 – 10 November 2015 at Pullman Melbourne on the Park.

The key areas to be addressed at the Conference will include:

  • Tackling unemployment for at risk groups: disability, regional, youth, mature age, and indigenous
  • Other at risk groups: CALD, ex-offenders and those with mental illness
  • Whole of family approach and earlier intervention including jobless families
  • Return to work strategies
  • The new welfare reform environment
  • Federal government policy and programs
  • Employer engagement and diversity programs targeting employing the long-term unemployed
  • Labour market trends and research
  • Job creation
  • JSA, DES other employment programs
  • Education, training and skills for employment
  • Building personal networks and relationship form partnerships, alliances and shared experience.

To find out more about the 2015 Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference or to view the full Conference Program please click here.