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Acting chief executive of IRT Group Stig Andersen and Susan Ryan in Canberra.

Duo teams up to keep older Australians working

Two Australian organisations have signed a Statement of Intent to boost older people’s participation in the workforce.

Under the partnership, the IRT Foundation and Australian Human Rights Commission will work with employers to find ways to keep older Australians in work.

Alison Errey, head of stakeholder engagement at IRT Group, said there is a body of research, some of which has been funded by IRT’s research foundation, that shows people who stay active in the workforce are physically and mentally healthier. “What we also see is a growing number of people who try retirement but then after a couple of years find that it just isn’t for them,” she added. “Trying to re-enter the workforce in your late 60s or even early 70s is incredibly difficult and you need a progressive and open-minded employer. Our goal is obviously to make sure there are more of those employers around.”

Disability discrimination commissioner Susan Ryan said: “The biggest barrier to Australians enjoying longer and more productive working lives is age discrimination. Age discrimination is not only harmful to individuals, it is holding the whole economy back.

“While the trend is now in the right direction, we need to speed things up so that all of those in older age groups who are willing and able can get jobs.”

The Mature Workforce Initiative was launched at IRT’s recent The Power of Oldness luncheon.

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