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Ageism a lose-lose for businesses and workers

Old hands

A growing divide between the demands of employers and available workers in the job market may be creating entrenched problems and limiting growth.

Earlier this year, debate raged on the My Business website around the issue of university graduates, with employers complaining graduates are not job-ready and jobseekers grumbling that employers are unwilling to pay for training and development.

In a rare admission recently, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) told My Business’ sister publication Accountants Daily that its degree did not produce job-ready accounting graduates, due to the sheer volume of knowledge and skills required to competently do the job.

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Yet a recent post that caught my eye on LinkedIn suggested that skills and experience are not such hot commodities either.

The post, whose author I missed (if it was you, please get in touch!), described his/her experience in hiring a person over the age of 50.

“You can’t imagine the resistance I had to overcome,” the post read.

“‘He will never work hard enough’, ‘he will not fit into our culture’, ‘he will be taking a lot of sick days’, ‘he is overqualified’ etc. Nobody said he was too old. They were all ‘politically correct’.”

The author said he/she even “had to put my foot down” to hire the candidate.

However, persistence definitely paid off.

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“Long story short, he was one of the best hires I ever made. We all learnt from him. He made a huge difference for the company.”

With Australia’s population ageing, it seems only logical that the average age of Australians in the labour force will also increase. So too will the proportion of consumers over the age of 50.

As such, businesses will need to increasingly rely on people outside of the millennial generation to meet their operational needs and to service that growing customer base. Sadly, for some businesses, at least, that epiphany may be a long time in the making.

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Ageism a lose-lose for businesses and workers
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