Australia Improving but far Behind NZ in Leveraging Mature Age Workers

29 June 2015

Australia jumped five places to 15th in OECD rankings for employment of mature age workers, buoyed by the Federal Government's efforts to increase participation and supporting our ageing demographic, PwC Global People Business leader Jon Williams said today while launching the latest results in the Golden Age Index.

"While Australia is in the middle of the pack moving from 20th to 15th place among the 34 nations, New Zealand continues to excel, maintaining its second place behind Iceland," Mr Williams said.

"If Australia could match New Zealand's mature age employment rate, Australia could generate an annual average increase of $24 billion in nominal GDP."

Mr Williams said the PwC modelling based on Federal Treasury's Intergenerational Report which projects the economy out to 2050, shows that increasing participation among mature age workers to New Zealand levels will at that time:

  • increase GDP by 4.7 per cent or $198 billion at today's value
  • improve the Commonwealth and state/territory budget by 1.7 per cent of GDP
  • reduce net debt by 11 per cent GDP in 2050

Other findings from the latest Golden Age Index are:

  • Iceland tops the table, followed by New Zealand , Sweden, Israel and Norway
  • Chile is a high riser, but Greece and Turkey fall furthest in the rankings
  • US, Korea, Japan and Estonia make up remaining top 10 positions

"Employing more mature workers doesn't block the path for younger workers, it actually makes our nation stronger, as more workers generates more demand and therefore more jobs in the economy," Mr Williams said.

"However we need to change our social bias toward older workers to allow this to happen.

"We are stuck in a cradle to grave model of career progression with a stigma towards changing careers and taking a step back.

"Treasurer Joe Hockey's appointment of Susan Ryan AO as the first Ambassador for Mature Age Employment is a great step forward.

"It's pleasing to see the Federal Government's commitment to a group of workers that are sometimes overlooked.

"The new Ambassador position is on top of the $10,000 Restart Wage subsidy for employers and mature age job seekers announced in this year's budget.

"Businesses who make better use of the skills and experience of older workers gain a real competitive advantage at a time when their customer bases are also ageing."

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