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Boom times for boomers

The cards continue to fall the right way for baby boomers, who are snapping up thousands of jobs at the expense of younger competitors.

Over the past year, employment has grown by 401,500, the fastest increase in five years.

But according to an analysis by CommSec, most of the jobs were given to older workers, while there are now 100,000 fewer young people with jobs than there were at the 2007 peak.

In the past year, there were 25,000 fewer workers aged between 15-24 years, while those aged 55 to 59 enjoyed a boost of 58,600 jobs and 65 plus workers got an additional 33,400 jobs the biggest annual increase in the 33-year history of the series.

Although unemployment levels are low and there is a demand for workers, the traditional area for younger people to enter the market has been in retail a sector in a major slump.

This is adding to existing pressure created by a recent trend of older workers staying in their jobs for longer, either because of reduced superannuation funds caused by the global financial crisis or because they simply enjoy their work, according to economist Craig James.

Recruitment firms believe many young people are opting for tertiary study rather than wasting time in a fruitless search for jobs.

Employers are also being conservative and opting for experience, according to Steve Lines of recruiting firm IPA.

Other recruiters believe the perceived fickleness and lack of loyalty of Gen Y means they are out of favour with bosses.

Mining, which has a bias towards older, more experienced trade workers, has also boomed in the past year and employed an extra 32,000 workers.

Mature age worker Helen Harman, 66, of Clayfield, is an example of the type of workers employers want.

Although she now only accepts temporary receptionist positions, Ms Harman said employers were constantly asking her to stay in the job for longer. She intends to work for as long as she can to fund travel and other lifestyle choices.

Ms Harman said she has worked as a beauty therapist and in secretarial roles, but was enjoying the flexibility of temporary work. I go into a job and give it my all, and in the roles Ive had they have asked me to stay on, which is nice, she said.

Mr James said the impact of the chance in work patterns rippled through the whole economy, influenced by spending patterns.

He said older workers may have the money, but they were more likely to save then spend compared with younger counterparts, who had higher housing and family costs.


The team at Reinvent thank The CourierMail where this article first appeared

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