A costly budget mistake laid bare

| October 7, 2020

It was with dismay that I read through budget summaries this morning to find a complete disregard for the mature worker in what has been called a ‘once in a generation budget’.

As the owner of a profit for purpose business helping mature Australians plan their future of work or build skills in business ownership, I could be accused of having a vested interest in this topic.

However, we are generally a fee for service business, and I’m not interested in funding that can be spent on our services.

What I am intensely worried about is the terminal damage to our mature worker cohort that will occur if we don’t support this age group now with deep and thoughtful budget initiatives.

There are several reasons for my concern:

  1. Mature workers were already being discriminated against prior to Covid-19 and it is likely many more have now been affected through loss of jobs.
  2. There is no time to waste for a mature worker who is likely in their last 15-20 years of working life. Any delays in ensuring full and meaningful employment will badly damage their retirement planning.
  3. We already knew that mature workers were taking up to twice as long to get a new job if they lost one for whatever reason (Human Rights Commission: Willing to Work National Enquiry report)
  4. Research has proven that mature age workers are amongst the most productive age groups at work, and missing out on helping them is proportionately more damaging as a lost opportunity for production.
  5. Our research shows that we are seeing a once in a generation fragmentation of the traditional workforce and a move to more freelance labour. Mature workers simply are not ready for, nor do they have the experience of working as a ‘gigster’ or ‘freelancer’ and they need skill development in this area urgently.
  6. Mature workers are closest to needing a pension if they aren’t self funded retirees and not putting in support mechanisms will bite the economy a lot earlier than young er age groups.

I’m not in the business of pitting one age against another, but in my opinion and experience in this space, this will be a rather large and ultimately costly budget mistake. Not just for the health and wellbeing of mature workers, but for the broader economy.

How does your business support mature workers?

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