Creating an age inclusive workplace
Five generations now form the most generationally diverse workforce Australia has ever had.
The generations have much in common, and while there are tensions driven by age-related stereotyping, there is a shared desire that all age groups be treated fairly and supported.
Research tells us that workers of all ages value:
- meaningful work and contribution or purpose
- employment that makes full use of their skills and experience
- training and Career opportunities
- increased flexibility
- strong work relationships and social connections
- financial security
While employees of all ages value the same things, how they experience the workplace and the supports required may vary depending on age and life stage.
The APS faces the challenge of adapting workplaces and work practices to meet the needs and interests of this diverse cohort. The APS needs to promote the benefits of age diversity in the APS; challenge and remove aged-related barriers; create age inclusive policies and work environments; and increase our talent pool.
The Australian Government also expects the APS to take the lead in realising the potential of older Australians through work, do more to retain and recruit older Australians and help offset overall declining workforce participation rates. The APS employment policies, practices and organisational culture need to support older Australians who want to join the public service and ensure we harness the skills and experience of older Australians who want to stay in the workforce.
|The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines
mature age workers as those aged 45 years or over
By focusing on the mature age workers we can capitalise on the strengths and challenge specific biases, myths and misconceptions relating to this age group.
Opportunities for agencies
- understand the commonalities that all employees value, such as flexible working arrangements and leverage existing initiatives
- be alert to the impact of changes in technology, different ways of working and emerging capability gaps to the mature age workforce
- utilise the talent available. Allow capability growth on the job and identify transferable skills
- collect and analyse age disaggregated data across levels, occupations, location, and other identities such as gender, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage to identify challenges and solutions
- avoid assumptions and generalisations about mature age workers, such as career aspirations, desire for learning or willingness to take up development opportunities.
- improve workplace culture to be more inclusive and supportive of all individual circumstances
- address negative stereotypes, attitudes, behaviours and age bias.
There are a number of useful references and resources to help guide agencies to understand the benefits of a mature age workforce.
- discover the services and supports available on the Mature Age Hub on dese.gov.au.
- Australian Human Rights Commission offers research and reports including information on age discrimination, Older Workers Resource Hub and 2021 ‘What’s age got to do with it?’ Report.
the Collaborative Partnership on Mature Age Employment (supported by Department of Education, Skills and Employment) helps to promote the benefits of employing older workers. The Partnership helps employers by:
- raising awareness of age discrimination among employers
- promoting the benefits of employing older workers
- helping employers manage an age-diverse workforce
- developing projects and tools to support older workers re-entry the workforce
Mature Age guidance for agencies
The Commission has been developing a guide that complements agency workforce planning by recognising that “one size does not fit all” and that agencies should take actions that suit their workforce profile, risks, issues and the outcomes sought.
 2021 Australian Human Rights Commission report ‘What’s age got to do with it?’
 2019 Delivering for Australians report