Older workers more likely to lose jobs in manufacturing decline

April 8, 20169:25 am365 views
Older workers more likely to lose jobs in manufacturing decline
photo: The shutdown of the car industry is likely to hit older workers harder. (Lateline)

Older, casual and part-time workers are more likely to be laid off as Australia’s manufacturing industry continues to shrink, according to a new report.

The warning comes from the Paris-basedOrganisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in a report which warns that older Australians struggle the most to find a new job, which is usually much lower paid.

The OECD’s call to improve services for laid-off workers comes as the steel maker Arrium announced it was going into voluntary administration, putting the future of its Whyalla steel operations in further jeopardy.

The author of the OECD’s study into Australian layoffs, Christopher Prinz, told the ABC’s AM program that better employment services were needed for laid off workers, in particular older ones.

“It’s not only older people who are affected but what we do still continuously find is if it is older people who are laid off, they have a much harder time to find their way back into the labour market,” Mr Prinz said.

“These are people who have had good jobs for a long time and all of a sudden, unprepared, they need to find a new job and that is not straight forward.”

The OECD’s report comes as local manufacturing remains under pressure, especially with the Australian dollar remaining well above 70 US cents despite official interest rates at the historic low of 2 per cent.

The concerns also coincide with the demise of Australia’s car industry, as Holden, Ford and Toyota prepare to close local operations over the next two years.

“These are exactly the cases in which some policies are in place to help people who lose their jobs because of bigger restructurings and the big mass layoffs,” Mr Prinz said.

“We are getting older and older, [but] the age from which you are considered like an older worker hasn’t really changed,” he said.

“Partly it is to do with the fact that there are people who have been out of the education system for 25 years and therefore, of course, given how fast things develop, their skills might be outdated.”

The OECD report found the current flashpoints in Australia include manufacturing and the forestry industry in Tasmania.

Mr Prinz told AM that laid off workers needed special services from government to unsure that are appropriately skilled for new roles.

“I think it’s really about anticipating change, about preparing people for change, about up skilling people all the time not only once they have lost their jobs.”

new source: abc.net.au

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