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2019-10-15 10:15:11

Updated

Extending on the truth in a resume is something most of us have probably been guilty of at some point in our working lives.

It might seem counterintuitive, then, to imagine someone deliberately dumbing theirs down.

But that's just what Shirley* did in order to get a job.

I condensed my experience to 10-ish years instead of 30, she says.

She also altered her CV to remove the date of her industry qualification and her date of birth.

Audio: What's it like having skills and a strong drive to work but being invisible to employers? (Life Matters)

If my CV went back too far it would've been obvious that I've been in the workforce for a long time and they'd put two and two together and say, 'she's old', she says.

So I just tried to make myself look younger.

I was being pragmatic and I thought, 'Well, if I can't get back in now, I'll never get back in.'

Shirley says to get back into work as an older person, you have to duck and weave a bit — and that includes lying on your CV.

You shouldn't have to do it, she says.

Older Australians unconfident about re-employment

The Australia Talks National Survey, which involved a total of 54,970 respondents, found almost half of Australians aged 50 to 64 are not confident about their ability to find a new job if they lost their current one.

One in four Australians are worried about losing their job in the next 12 months and an even higher proportion, 37 per cent, are concerned about job security more generally.

And 80 per cent of Australians say unemployment is a problem in this country generally.

Despite raising two children as a single mother, Shirley managed to stay in full-time work until she was 58.

Then she lost her full-time job when it was given to a less experienced worker, whom, she says, her employers were able to pay at a lower rate .

I got shafted ... it just knocked me for six, Shirley says.

Soon after, her life took a dramatic turn.

I'd finally got the kids off my hands and I was just able to live for myself, she recalls.

I thought, now is the time for me to really start pumping as much money as I can into my super, and pay off the mortgage, because I didn't have any more dependents, and set myself set up financially for retirement.

Instead, her financial position began to suffer without her full-time income.

I lost all my super that I had accumulated by being on Newstart — you can't live on that, she says.

My daughter took on my mortgage and paid it out.

I came so close to being one of these women sleeping in the back of the car.

Caught in an employment 'netherworld'

It took Shirley five years, until she was nearly 63, to find another full-time job.

Dina Bowman, an economic sociologist with the Brotherhood of St Laurence who has researched the challenges that face older workers, says her experience is common.

She says some employers are reluctant to hire older workers for fear they'll be a bit inflexible [or] they won't be adaptable enough .

But she says older workers might also struggle with recruitment processes that have changed dramatically since they were last job hunting.

Jobs are largely advertised online and there's a great reliance on social networks, she says.

Plus, a lot of jobs aren't advertised .

It's who you know, Dr Bowman says.

She says it can be really tough for mature-age workers facing extended periods of job-seeking.

They can draw on their mortgage, withdraw their super and really erode their economic financial situation, she says.

They are drawing on their savings or increasingly on their equity in their home, if they're lucky enough to have one, or else they're relying on Newstart allowance, which is inadequate.

But being unemployed affects more than just older people's finances.

It can also have psychological impacts. They can feel isolated and depressed. They can feel frustrated and lose confidence, Dr Bowman says.

Sometimes, says Dr Bowman, they're caught in this kind of netherworld .

They're too old too to get a job, apparently, but they are too young to retire. So they're sort of caught in this in-between state.

Shirley says her new full-time job is at a lower grade and a lower pay — the last time her hourly rate was this low was 10 years ago — but it gets your foot in the door .

Back in the door, that is.

And while she's anxious at the prospect of being mistreated again as an employee, she's happy to be employed again.

I just wanted to work, Shirley says.

*Name changed for privacy reasons.

The Australia Talks National Survey asked 54,000 Australians about their lives and what keeps them up at night. Use our interactive tool to see the results and how their answers compare with yours.

Then, tune in at 8:30pm on November 18, as the ABC hosts a live TV event with some of Australia's best-loved celebrities exploring the key findings of the Australia Talks National Survey.

Topics: work, community-and-society, older-people, unemployment, mental-health, business-economics-and-finance, australia

First posted


abc.net.au
says their time they have older shirley australians being workers back just



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