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The Intergenerational Report stands as a pivotal Australian document with a release cycle of once every five years. Its significance lies in its forward-looking perspective, casting its gaze four decades ahead to evaluate the enduring viability of current government policies, a comprehensive health check for the nation of sorts, probing the pulse of various vital signs.

This report delves into a range of critical factors that shape our nation's future, including demographic trends like population growth and ageing, economic indicators such as GDP growth and employment rates, and even social dimensions encompassing healthcare, education, and the pressing issue of climate change. In essence, the report serves as a roadmap, shedding light on both the challenges and opportunities that Australia may confront in the decades to come.

Its overarching goal is to illuminate the path ahead, guiding policy decisions with foresight. It ensures that government entities and departments aren't merely caught in the throes of short-term election cycles but are equipped to plan for the betterment of the next generation, fostering sustainable and informed policymaking.

In the recent report, which Treasurer Jim Chalmers unveiled just last month, the concerning impact of ageism on Australia's economy was addressed. The report indicated that economic growth will not keep pace, with living standards likely to decline unless there is a significant boost in productivity growth within the ageing workforce. The study emphasised the crucial role played by productivity growth, with the size of the population and workforce participation being key factors influencing future economic forecasts. On a positive note, Mr. Chalmers stated that while the report does anticipate a slowdown in productivity growth, there are viable strategies to counteract this trend.

Underlining the gravity of the ageing population for the Australian economy, Mr Chalmers underscored that we have the potential to avert these bleak projections through a prioritised response. This response includes embracing new technologies and making strategic investments in older individuals and their skill development to foster a more productive and prosperous economic landscape.

A fundamental component of this solution recommended an open conversation about ageism and its manifestations. To this end, it’s imperative to target awareness-raising initiatives aimed at bolstering mature-age employment. This may involve a concentrated effort on small businesses, the implementation of tailored support programs, and the dissemination of success stories within this demographic.

Ageism in the workplace is a complex issue that affects individuals of all ages. It's disheartening to see the stereotypes that persist about older and younger workers, as according to the World Health Organisation, on a global scale a whopping  one in two people are ageist, with this prejudice directly affecting the financial well-being of older workers seeing them experiencing longer periods of unemployment, discrimination during the hiring process, and fewer professional development opportunities.

When it comes to older workers, some common negative stereotypes include the belief that they can't change, don't understand technology, and are often overlooked for promotions. These assumptions are not only unfair but also detrimental to fostering a harmonious and diverse work environment.

The reality is older workers bring a wealth of experience to the table. They've seen it all and can offer invaluable insights into problem-solving and decision-making. Moreover, their capacity to mentor younger colleagues is a tremendous asset, passing down knowledge gained over years of experience. Older workers often exhibit a strong work ethic, characterised by reliability and dedication.

Any kind of unfair stereotypes hinder collaboration and diversity in the workplace. In the case of younger workers, many forget that they, too, contend with stereotypes. Some might unfairly label them as lazy or entitled, assuming they lack practical skills. These stereotypes can be frustrating for young, talented professionals trying to make their mark in the workplace. It's important to recognise that younger workers often possess a strong desire to learn and adapt. They bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the table. Additionally, they tend to be well-educated and equipped with the latest knowledge and insights from their academic backgrounds.

It's crucial for all of us to challenge any biases and value the unique contributions that individuals of all ages bring to the table. Embracing diversity in terms of experience and youth can lead to a more dynamic and innovative workforce, ultimately benefiting everyone.

Advice from Con Kittos of Asuria for older workers

In the case of older individuals seeking to re-enter the workforce, it's essential to stay current and up to date with the latest technologies, tools, and industry trends. The job market is evolving rapidly, and being tech-savvy and well-informed can give you a competitive edge.

Building and nurturing your professional network is equally crucial. Seek referrals and recommendations from your contacts. Maintaining a strong online presence on platforms like LinkedIn can help you connect with potential employers and colleagues.

When it comes to your resume, tailor it to the specific job you're applying for. Highlight experiences and skills that are directly relevant to the position. Additionally, consider removing dates of education to focus more on your qualifications and expertise.

Keeping physically fit can boost your confidence and energy levels, which are valuable assets during interviews and in the workplace. It's not just about looking the part; it's about feeling your best.

Your dress style matters, too. Dressing in a visually appealing, up-to-date and appropriate manner for the industry you're pursuing always create a positive first impression.

Don't forget to showcase your soft skills. Highlight your leadership abilities, emotional intelligence (E.Q), and teamwork skills. These qualities are highly valued by employers.

Flexibility is key in today's job market. Consider exploring consulting or part-time opportunities. Being willing to adapt and change your approach can lead to exciting possibilities.

Perhaps most importantly, maintain a positive attitude throughout your job search. Confidence and optimism can be infectious and make a lasting impression on potential employers.

*Asuria is Australia’s second largest Employment Services Agency

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