Employers Urged To Follow Bunnings’ Lead And Hire Older Workers

As outrage builds over a proposal to force Australians to work until 70, experts are urging businesses to follow the example of hardware giant Bunnings and unleash the untapped labour of older workers.

Professor Hal Kendig at the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research said Australia cannot afford to discount its ageing workforce.

older workers hired by bunnings
Photo: article supplied

He pointed to the example of Bunnings, which has capitalised on large numbers of highly skilled tradespeople who were unable to continue in physically demanding jobs but could offer a lifetime of experience to shoppers.

“The key to this is for wise employers to see that by going against the discrimination they are making a wise investment,” he told The New Daily.

The Australian government sparked a national debate in recent days by confirming it still intends to extend the pension age to 70 by 2035. This would force many workers with small superannuation balances born on or after 1966 to toil for many more years — or apply for the dole.

It followed a warning from the World Economic Forum that Australia would be forced to push its retirement age to 70 by the middle of the century to avoid a retirement funding crisis.

While many are angered by the prospect of working longer, Professor Kendig said the economic benefits of higher returns from older workers could not be ignored.

“Enabling older people to stay in the workforce is a win-win.”

But he warned there needed to be a change of attitude.

“One key thing is to make the workplace more age-friendly,” Professor Kendig said.

“But it’s going to take a lot of effort to get that message out into the public.”

This article was originally published by Smart Company.

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