November 18, 2015

Helping displaced older workers get back into employment

This good practice guide from NCVER is based on research conducted by Victor J Callan and Kaye Bowman presented in their report Industry restructuring and job loss: helping older workers get back into employment. The aim of the research was to identify evidence-based practices that led to successful skills transfer, re-skilling, training and the attainment of new jobs for older workers displaced from often lower-skilled jobs in the manufacturing industries.

The displaced worker group is an enduring and currently growing segment of the Australian workforce, and is a consequence of globalisation and increased competition. In the past, Australia has seen restructuring in many high-pro le businesses, especially those in its manufacturing sector, for example, BHP Steel and Mitsubishi Motors, and more recently, General Motors Holden, Ford and Toyota.

Based on a review of past research and four Australian case studies, Callan and Bowman investigated the type and impact of the approaches used to assist displaced older workers in regions where industry restructuring has occurred.

The case studies were in the Hunter region of New South Wales, the Geelong region in Victoria, the outer metropolitan area of Adelaide in South Australia and various locations in Tasmania. They highlighted that there are major challenges for unemployed older workers in industries where larger proportions of the workforce have lower skills, few formal quali cations and poorer literacy and numeracy skills. Finding a new job is not easy for many displaced workers and the probability of being re-employed is much lower for older lower-skilled displaced workers than for other retrenched workers.

Helping Displaced Older Workers