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Age Discrimination is Alive and Unwelcome Here!

Common sense appears to be a rare commodity these days. Why is this so?

In an era when the emphasis seems to be on all things young, beautiful and sometimes shallow its about time we took stock of ourselves and did our businesses a favor by employing older workers! Age discrimination is a terrible injustice that has far reaching effects on our economy where ever we are.

When I was much younger I used to watch these older workers with wonderment and ask myself 'how did they get to be so smart' many of them didn't even have degrees! Now 25 years in the workforce has educated me with some answers.

It was a lesson that was to educate me through the years as I often learnt that the most successful and balanced poeple in society where those who were older and often weren't highly educated as we think education means.

They were street smart and wise in the ways of the business world and usually displayed compassion and the willingness to share. As a young accountant I was fortunate to be mentored by some very smart older people who took the opportunity to help me develop. When I left the accounting profession I had a reputation as an excellent manager.

On one occasion this well known business identity confided in me that many experienced poeple his age would 'give their eye teeth' to mentor other younger business people and willingly without charge.

So why this discrimination and why do we take away the hope that older workers have!

Because of the reducing birth rate in Australia it is estimated that by 2010 the percentage of employees aged between 45 and 60 years of age will be 65%. Many industries are not presently equipped to cope with this radical change in age demographics and it is now time for industry and government to work together preparing the way ahead. Australia is nt alone!

Recent studies have belied the myth in respect to older workers and concluded that mature workers are productive, however, there still continues to be muddied perceptions about age related workers (Productivity of Mature and Older Workers: Employers' Attitudes and Experience ? ACIRRT 1996).

Grey power will increasingly become more important as enterprises endeavour to stay ahead of the pack and retain mature aged workers who have skills, experience and competencies to contribute to industry and business.

Discrimination in employment

Discrimination in employment can include where an employer treats less favorably a worker

? in any variation of the terms of work; or
? in denying or limiting access to opportunities
? in dismissing a worker; or
? by treating a worker unfavourably regarding work.

Answer

The answers to age discrimination aren't blowing in the wind! They are really common sense. Where can you buy maturity and wisdom. You can't! Maturity and wisdom is earnt and proved in the furnace of lifes experiences.

? Employment - do you have a policy on older workers?
? Employment policies ? Discrimination?
? Grievance policy for all complaints
? Flexible work practices

Finally as an example I was once employed to manage a company which was heading towards Chapter 11. I inherited an older worker who was near retirement. Se proved to be a key difference in turning the company around!

Go ahead and make someones day. Its your people that make you money, yes old and young, employ the best person and don't discriminate. Old age grows on us all! For more information and to subscribe to our monthly ezine visit www.biz-momentum.com

Philip Lye is Director of Biz Momentum Pty Ltd and provides professional management services for -

? Strategic Human Resource Management
? Employee Relations Advice
? Workplace Health & Safety Compliance Strategies
? Management Skills Training

Philip holds qualifications in Accounting, Leadership, Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations and is a qualified accountant.

Prior to starting Biz Momentum Philip began his career as a junior clerk in banking and finance and progressed through various industries to CEO. Visit http://www.biz-momentum.com

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