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Community partnership update


31 May, 2021

The underemployment of people over 50 is a critical challenge for our workplaces, community and the economy. 
In 1976 there were approximately seven people of working age (15-64 years) to every person over the age of 65. With an ageing population, this ratio is expected to decrease to just over two people of working age to every person over 65 by 2056. 

COTA Report 2
COTA Report 3
COTA Report 4
As the number of people of working age falls, demands for services to support our ageing population will increase. This presents a range of issues for our economy and the community. Older people are skilled and able and are healthier today than at any other point in history and supporting people to work for as long as they wish is one part of the solution. However, older workers report experiencing discrimination in recruitment and other workplace practices.

They say they are often overlooked in recruitment processes and are among the first to be made redundant. Surveys have shown that people don’t necessarily want to retire or cannot retire at 65. Employment of mature-age workers is an issue that requires a shift in thinking and changing current ways of working. 

At Challenger, our Sustainability Strategy aims to provide financial security for retirement, and we know that continuing to work as you age is a key driver in achieving this. We know there are fewer opportunities for people over 50, due to stigma and discrimination and we believe there is significant value being left behind for mature-aged people, workplaces and the economy.

In September 2019 Challenger announced a strategic three-year partnership with COTA New South Wales. Through this partnership we’re delivering a community program aimed at addressing the underemployment of people over 50. This program will celebrate the value older Australians bring to the workplace and improve workplace practices to attract and retain older employees into their companies. We want people talking about the issue and thinking about better ways of working.

Report: Valuing older workers

In partnership with COTA NSW and Newgate Research, we undertook research to better understand the experiences of older employees in their workplace and how employers can support a more diverse workforce. This research included surveys, online forums and co-creation workshops with older and younger workers and employers across small, medium and large Australian workplaces. The research aimed to capture a broad perspective of the support required to motivate change, and to develop sustainable initiatives aimed at tackling this societal challenge.

Read the full report here.

The goal of this community program is for Australian workplaces to acknowledge the value of older employees and adapt workplaces to accommodate their needs. The overall result of this work is to support aged Australians who are engaged and thriving, mentally, emotionally and financially work for as long as they wish.

This video tells the story of firsthand experiences:

1 NSW Intergenerational report 2016.