Are Australians ageist?

With an increasingly ageing population in Australia, what exactly do we think about ‘older people’ – particularly in the workforce?

Older employment rates have begun to rise as Australian governments encourage workers to delay their retirement, but the prospect of ‘working for longer’ is not yet universally accepted.  There is also limited evidence about the prevalence of negative attitudes (“ageism”) that can lead to discrimination against older people at work and in other social contexts.

Researchers from the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne have examined Australians’ attitudes towards older people in a representative, population-level survey.

‘Ageism’ takes different forms. It can be directed at both younger and older individuals but, in this study, the researchers focused on negative attitudes that are directed at older people because of their age.

The survey results provide evidence to answer the questions:

  • How prevalent are ageist attitudes in Australia?
  • Which forms of ageism are more pronounced?
  • How do attitudes differ across the population?

You can read about the survey findings in the ‘research snapshot’.

The project was funded by the Centre for Workplace Leadership and with a seed-funding grant from the University of Melbourne’s Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative.


Dr Josh Healy, Centre for Workplace Leadership, University of Melbourne

Dr Ruth Williams, Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative, University of Melbourne

Professor Peter Gahan, Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne

Dr Raymond Harbridge, Centre for Workplace Leadership, University of Melbourne

Monica Pham, formerly Centre for Workplace Leadership, University of Melbourne

Ibrahim Rasheed, formerly Centre for Workplace Ledership, University of Melbourne

Chief investigator

Dr Ruth Williams
Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative

Related research

Research snapshot: are Australians ageist?