According to the ABS Labour Force figures, the unemployment rate for people aged 50 and over is 3.6%. While this is lower than the overall rate of 5.3%, around one third of unemployed mature age people are long-term unemployed (52 weeks or more), compared with 22% across all age groups.
Once unemployed, mature age people face greater challenges re-entering the workforce. Statistics show their average duration of unemployment is 69 weeks, compared with 42 weeks across all age groups.
Yet, according to the Survey of Employers Recruitment Experiences, many employers appreciate the skills, experience, reliability, strong work ethic and communication skills that mature age people bring to the workplace.
Neil registered through jobactive with an employment services provider to get support in finding a job.
‘I was unemployed for about 12 months. It was not a very nice time. I didn’t feel good about myself because I couldn’t get a job,’ Neil said.
Even though he’d been a manager and has tertiary qualifications, he accepted a cleaning job. Neil was grateful for the work, but knew that it wasn’t where he wanted to stay.
‘My cleaning job was a stepping-stone for me to look for other work. Because it was a part-time job, I had time to look for another job.
‘I didn’t want to be a cleaner but I took the job so I could get moving again.’
He would think to himself: ‘There is something better coming along, just keep going because you’ve only got 15 minutes to go and it’s time to go home and you can get on the computer again and fill out your resume, send it off, look for jobs.’
Neil’s optimism and determination paid off. His job as a cleaner led to his new role in the social care industry.
‘Life for me now is very, very good and I just put it down to I wanted a job, I got a job, now I am moving forward,’ said Neil.
Neil is keen to encourage other mature-age people looking for work.
‘Push through it. I know it’s hard, it’s been hard for me, it’s hard for you, it’s hard for everybody as well, but they push through it so just keep moving.
‘Full-time job, permanent job, it just gives you the ability to take control of your life and plan what you want.’
Read the report: Improving the Employment Prospects of Mature Age Job Seekers on the LMIP website.
For useful tips from employers for mature age job seekers, read Employers' tips for mature age job seekers.
To find out about incentives available to employers, read about Restart – help to employ mature workers.