Redesigning Skill Policy for an Ageing Australia

Jawad Syed,
Faiza Ali
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We examine four critical issues with respect to ageing and skill in the contemporary Australian society: the effect of ageing on the labour force participation rates; the challenges faced by older workers; future demand of skill; and, the present industrial and professional profile of older workers. Particularly relevant to the last issue is the fact that older workers are traditionally involved in non-service industries such as goods production, which are generally on the decline in Australia. The paper then briefly examines the training and skill policy in Australia. We argue that the training reforms in the past have ignored the aspects of transferability and expansion of skill, and instead reflected only short-term business concerns. We argue that there is need for a fresh policy intervention to deal with the issues of ageing and skill in Australia. In order to enhance the capacity of the Australian labour market, we outline the following key strands that must be included in any Policy response that seeks to address these issues: 1) the removal of structural barriers such as negative stereotypes towards ageing to enable the utilization of older workers in organizations, 2) creating awareness among employers about the business outcomes of managing age diversity, 3) the work re-design to facilitate employment of older workers through change in the nature and the level of skill required while at the same time improving productivity, 4) the measures to improve the quality of human resource through job specific training and life long learning, 5) promoting phased transition from full-time work to full-time retirement to prolong participation of older workers, and 6) providing consistent legal frameworks for training and managing age diversity across all States and organizations.

Keywords: Ageing, Skill, Australia
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Redesigning Skill Policy for an Ageing Australia

Jawad Syed

Doctoral Researcher, Department of Business, Division of Economics and Finance, Macquarie University, Sydney

Jawad Syed is a doctoral researcher at the department of business, Macquarie University, Sydney. He graduated from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore (1992), and received his Masters degree in International Business from the University of Western Sydney (2001). Jawad has previously worked as human resource practitioner and consultant in Pakistan and Australia. Jawad's research interests include comparative study of diversity and gender in the Islamic society and the west. He enjoys writing, researching, and working with organizations to help them make small but strategic changes in their diversity management practices. Jawad is married, has two lovely children, Haider and Pernian, who keep Jawad and his wife Faiza extremely busy... AND happy. Jawad can be reached at

Faiza Ali

Doctoral researcher, Department of Business, Division of Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney

Ref: H05P0776