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Healthy Living
Sep 07, 2023

8 tips to staying in the workforce as you age

It is a sad reality that older Australians experience age discrimination when looking for a job, so here we explore how you can improve your chances of finding your next job.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australians are increasingly working to an older age. People are living longer and often need to keep working to meet their financial commitments – but some older people are either working less than they would like to or are looking for work.

The National Prevalence Survey into Age Discrimination in the Workplace 2015 found that over a quarter of Australians aged 50+ said they had experienced some form of age discrimination in the two years leading up to the survey’s publication.

Attitudes towards older people and their value to society often underpins this discrimination and that extends to older workers. It’s an issue that’s taken very seriously by the government and that’s reflected in workforce legislation.

Two facilities management staff discussing the next job on bonnet of work truck

What can you do to find work as a mature worker?

1. Get a career check-up

Former Age Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the late The Hon Susan Ryan AO suggested that everyone should be getting a regular check-up on their careers as they age. To help you go the distance and plan out your working life it’s important to take stock of where you are at and where you want to be in the years ahead.

The Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment has a Mature Age Hub with information to support job seekers over the age of 45. The hub includes a video on transferable skills, information on the labour market, what government assistance is available for older workers and resume writing. It’s a great place to start when thinking about your working career and the years ahead.

2. Browse age-friendly job listings

If you're looking for new jobs, you can find job listings from age-friendly employers on sites such as based on your industry. Not every employer is ageist, in fact, many employers truly value the experience, reliability and maturity of older workers.

Visit for more information and to see what's on offer.

3. Try volunteering

If you are thinking about a career change, why not consider volunteering in the role or industry before making the switch? Age Matters has more than 400 volunteers supporting residents at IRT and plays a key role in optimising the health, independence, wellbeing and quality of life of our residents by taking on roles which improve their access to companionship, social activities, transport and so much more.

4. Consider updating your skills and learn some new ones

Take a look at the Australian Government’s Myskills website for information about online courses, online training providers and find jobs that match your skills. There are also some inspiring stories about people who retrained later in life, including Chris who at the age of 50 was made redundant after 32 years in the same job. He went on to become a mental health worker through vocational education and training. You can watch his story here.

5. Take a course

Are you interested in aged care? Well IRT Academy might have the course for you. IRT Academy offers a wide range of nationally recognised full qualifications, short courses and skill set packages that have been developed by experts in the aged care industry. It also offers online and face-to-face job-ready training in aged care. Find out more about what IRT Academy has to offer.

Active senior woman potting some plants in terracotta pots on a counter in backyard. Senior female gardener planting flowers in pots

6. Keep a positive attitude

Try and maintain a positive outlook when it comes to applying for jobs – knockbacks are hard but try and learn from the experience. Don’t be afraid to ask prospective employers why you didn’t get the job – that information might be key to help you secure the next job opportunity that comes along.

7. Don’t undervalue yourself and your skills

As an older worker, you bring a wealth of experience to the table. One of the most telling findings from Age Matters’ work with mature-age job seekers is that sometimes older workers are the most critical of their own skills and value. Raise your voice and tell people how great older workers can be and consider taking the pledge and joining the Every Age Counts campaign.

8. Go where you're valued

There are certain jobs and industries where older workers shine. You might be interested to know that an Age Matters Mature Workforce Roundtable discussion revealed that:

  • Jobs that had a strong customer focus, such as retail, tourism, and hospitality, were identified as roles where older workers excelled.
  • Industries with flexible work hours, such as transport and retail, were also identified as being suitable for older people.
  • The professional sector values skills and experience, and these roles are kinder on the ageing body.
  • Some banking and insurance companies are increasing their engagement of mature age workers.
  • Occupations offering opportunities for mentoring and leadership, especially where specialised or technical skills are required, were also mentioned.

Government assistance for employers

The Australian Government is also working to encourage businesses to hire and retain mature age employees who are 50 years and over. For example, Workforce Australia Services offers a financial incentive (up to $10,000 GST inclusive) to employ older workers and create an experienced and diverse workforce. There are also skills and training incentives available to help older employees build skills and stay in the workforce longer.

Retirement living at IRT

If you’re interested in downsizing your house and upsizing your life, IRT has more than 30 retirement villages across NSW, Qld and ACT. Find out more about the possibilities of village life and how one of our independent living communities can suit you and your unique needs.

Find out more

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