‘Working in ageing and working while ageing’ is the Australian Association of Gerontology's (AAG) hot topic for 2018. Our journal regularly publishes articles on these interrelated topics. This issue is no exception. We include a special feature on the topic, accompanied by a commentary from A/Professor Elizabeth Brooke, an expert on the older workforce and its societal implications.In June 2017, the Senate Committee's ‘Inquiry into the Future of the Aged Care Workforce’ report was published . The Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce is currently engaged in consultations with key stakeholders. A summit in December 2017 canvassed views and another will occur in April, prior to the Taskforce reporting to the Minister in June.Such planning is commendable, but must not be allowed to overshadow the broader issues related to an overall older workforce: (re‐) education and training, to create an inclusive, culturally competent workforce, while ensuring that government policies do not adversely influence older people's employment and retirement plans. As noted in a previous Editorial , the Australian Human Rights Commission's Inquiry into employment discrimination, ‘Willing to Work’, highlighted underemployment due to poor health and ageism . Employment enables people to age well, both financially and emotionally . Those who want to remain in paid employment should be enabled to do so by policies and practices that promote non‐discriminatory, flexible working opportunities.Australians are staying in the workforce longer. In 2014, 54% of 60‐ to 64‐year‐old Australians were employed, compared to 32% in 2000 . However, this proportion is still relatively low compared to other OECD countries. There is scope to optimise workforce participation by responding to the changing needs of our society: this will require creative reskilling to meet the needs of older Australians wherever they live, not least those based in rural and remote areas.Older Australians contribute to the economy not only as carers and volunteers, but also as employees, employers and consumers. Indeed, in 2011, 22% of business owners were 65 or over . Our ageing society will require services far beyond aged care, health and funeral insurance. The silver dollar is already being recognised by the leisure industry. We need to capitalise on the business opportunities afforded by the ageing global marketplace, with products and services such as personal sensors and ‘third age experience agents’ [3; p.15] created by, with, and for, older consumers.ReferencesSenate Community Affairs Committee Secretariat. Future of Australia's Aged Care Sector Workforce. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2017. [Cited 28 December 2017.] Available from URL: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/AgedCareWorkforce45/ReportSims J. Our ageing workforce. Australasian Journal on Ageing 2017; 36: 9.Australian Human Rights Commission. Willing to Work: National Inquiry Into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians With Disability. Sydney: The Commission; 2016 [Cited 20 January 2017.] Available from URL: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability-rights/publications/willing-work-national-inquiry-employment-discriminationPer Capita Australia Limited. Blueprint for an Ageing Australia. Sydney: Per Capita Australia Limited; 2014.
Australasian Journal on Ageing – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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