Producers Peter Tozer and Paul Thusi have both experienced unemployment in their older years. In this project they dug deep into research, talked to public servants, job agencies and employers to try to unravel the story of how the system caters for older unemployed people.
At the same time, some of the older people we met who were looking for work agreed to keep diaries of their experiences. They sporadically sent us their diary entries by email, in between Centrelink and job agency appointments, and endless interviews. The journey was painful, with many giving up their search for work.
It has been interesting for us to complete this production while, at the same time, talkback radio is taking calls from people who are sharing their experiences about being out of work. There is no doubt that the biggest barrier faced by older people trying to get a job is, to put it simply, age discrimination. In particular, recruitment agencies, with their younger staff, make assumptions about older people's ability to change or their technology skills.
There is a brighter side to the story and it comes from one employer who believes there are endless benefits to having not only a culturally diverse workforce but also an age-diverse one.
This project was made possible with funding from the Community Broadcasting Foundation's Content Development Grants.