Why is there discrimination against older workers? The Toyota employees just dismissed might be dismayed to find that unemployment benefit recipients over 45 are seen as too old by far too many bosses. Australian management tends to be fairly conservative in its hiring, preferring the known and familiar rather than anything they see as risky. Younger workers are seen as safer, for no particular reason, apart from prejudice.

Talk to older job seekers and the story is they rarely even get interviews. Even if they don’t disclose their age (it is illegal to discriminate), they still rarely get a response to their applications. If they do, they may be seen as over-qualified: too experienced and therefore maybe a threat in some way to existing staff, so they are often excluded. One reason is that those sifting the applications are often younger than they are, and may be wary of asking an older person (who is the age of their parents) to come in for an interview.