It takes someone over the age of 50 three times longer to find work than a 21-year-old.
So will this new scheme to encourage employers to hire older workers make a difference?
Ron Lidman is just 59-years-old. He’s a former big wig in the credit industry, but he's been out of work for eighteen months - told by the workforce he's washed up.More stories from Today Tonight
Lidman is one of a growing number of over 50s punted out of the workforce, with nowhere else to go.
After 40 years as a sales manager, John Roberts also found himself on the scrapheap. It took Anglicare to offer him a job and get him back into the workforce.
“It was only until I came to Anglicare that I think management looked outside the square, and looked at my life experiences, and experience I had, and saw it as something that could be offered to the job I was going for,” Roberts said.
Almost one in three Australians, or seven million, are now 50 years old or older. More are joining their ranks every day, but more and more over 50s are being punted from their jobs with no hope at all.
That is, except for companies like IBM and Anglicare - both of which have an affirmative over 50s employment policy.
Anglicare's Allison Wheatley gave Roberts his break.
“We do hire older workers, deliberately. Because we believe they bring maturity and life experience, and for the kind of services we offer, that’s exceedingly important,” Wheatley said.
Director of Older Workers Matt Higgens has seen hundreds of over 50s try to get work as prices rise, superannuation shrinks, and the retirement age goes up.
“You're definitely not washed up at 45. At 45 you've still going to have a minimum twenty years more working," Higgens said.
That's if you can get a job. For people over 50 it takes an average 70 weeks to find a job.
40-year-olds, on average, take up to one year. But twenty-year-olds take just 21 weeks before they find work.
And that's why the Federal Government plans to give companies a bounty of $1000 to employ an older worker for at least three months - a $10 million program over four years, to help get people like Lidman back into work.
David Skapinker is from Apia, the largest over 50s insurance company in Australia, and says his 700,000 members are worried for their futures.
“It is a crisis for a lot of people. They've been out of work, there's been a lot of job losses in the last few years, and they want to get back in to the workforce," Skapinker said.
But like Lidman, scouring the jobs pages every day, it's a desperate, soul destroying experience - with no end in sight.
Meanwhile, he keeps searching.
“If I was a dickhead, or if I didn’t know anything, I'd understand it. But I'm not. I have a lot to offer, and I'm sure there are a lot of people out there like me, in the same boat, and it's unnecessary," Lidman concluded.
Ron Lidman is looking for work. Any offers please email himContact details
This reporter is on Twitter at @RichoTT7
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