Jobmaker 2020 – promoting ageism?

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Not a political piece, not an opinion piece. Just a piece required to ensure we focus on age diversity in our hiring.

Last week Prime Minister Morrison outlined the latest economic plan to help Australia tiptoe through this land mine covered landscape called CoVid19. For a Nation now obsessed with numbers (number of cases, number of deaths, how many in each state, how long has one state been in lockdown, how many days until Christmas or 2021?) we were given a few more to focus on. Covid19 has had a near-fatal effect on the employment market with some demographics hit harder than others, not many have been as impacted as harshly as the young. 

Youth unemployment is now 14.3%, more than double the general rate of unemployment (6.8%).

Young people also suffered the biggest spike in unemployment during the global financial crisis, and even before the Covid-19 recession were more than twice as likely to be unemployed.

This initiative has targeted this demographic, with essentially a $250 Million focus on encouraging businesses to employ people aged between 18 and 35. Offering business $200 a week for each new employee aged between 16 and 29. For newly eligible employees aged 30 to 35, they’ll get $100 a week. Eligibility for these grants is based on “new” jobs created between October 7, 2020, and October 6, 2021.

The Federal Government says it expects about 450,000 jobs will be supported under the scheme.

This is positive news for the younger people of Australia, but will it displace the older generation? This could disadvantage the over 900,000 unemployed who are not eligible for these job credits because they are over 36. There is of course the $10,000 “Restart” allowance in place to encourage the hiring of older workers of 50 and over (who meet certain criteria) however the idea of ageism still is a concern. 

How can you as an employer be sure that you don’t fall into the trap of ageism when hiring?  An age-diverse workforce will contribute to a culture of diversity of thought and the potential of more responsive products or offerings. Sure there are governmental advantages but think of the end result you want. 

Firstly ensure your advertised words are inclusive, for example, upper and lower levels of experience levels could be seen as purporting ageism as well as the old favorites “young up and comer”.

Make sure your business has diverse benefit offerings and it is not all about the foosball table, craft beer, and office bean bags, maybe incorporate things like superannuation matching, corporate health insurance discounts, salary packaging. Whilst they may not sound super enticing, these options can be important to many. 

Ensure your Recruiters or those representing you in the market are focused on keeping an open mind when it comes to age diversity. They are representing your business, make sure the message is clear and known. The best person for the job is the best person for the job. 

Rethink those “culture” building activities to ensure all can attend and get involved. More vigorous active events may exclude older people or those late-night drinking sessions “on the company” may exclude those with families who have responsibilities to get home to. 

Giving opportunities to all and ensuring that you, as an employer have a diverse representation of knowledge, experience, and thought will assist your business in a positive way. It will stop inter-generational assumptions and stereotypes, allowing your business to be appealing to all and hopefully succeed when we finally hit post COVID19 times. 

Darren Neville
TalentVine - Recruitment Martketplace

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