Former KPMG'er says job market is rife with age discrimination

19 May 2021 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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Navy veteran Nic Winterson has claimed the Australian job market is rife with age discrimination, with a previous leadership stint at KPMG still not enough to land the 53 year-old an interview.

A former Forensics Services Director for KPMG Australia has claimed no one will give him a job due to age discrimination. Earlier this week, Winterson went public following his frustration at not landing a single interview from 237 job applications submitted over the past year and a half. Coincidentally, the public outburst comes just one month after KPMG dropped its controversial retirement age of 58.

“Seventeen months, not one interview. Not one! I’m 53, have two degrees and an MBA and headed large groups at a Big 4 and two U.S. MNC’s overseas. Each week I receive auto-generated replies stating ‘you are not suitable for this role’. Every job advertisement says they are inclusive of gender, age and race. Well, this is just not factual,” the former KPMG leader railed in a letter to the West Australian.

Nic Winterson

Prior to KPMG (where according to his LinkedIn profile Winterson was responsible for managing the company’s forensic, investigations, financial crime, and cyber-security businesses from 2017 to 2018), the former Navy Intelligence officer also spent five years as a Director at Kroll and then more than a decade from 2005 as a senior manager – investigations lead for Greater Asia with Intel Corporation in Singapore.

“The state and federal governments bang on about getting our youth back to work but do they even know who these youths live with?” continued Winterson in his letter to the paper. “They live with folks in their 40’s and 50’s. The same people who aren’t being asked in for an interview. It’s a hidden, quiet, insidious thought process that isn’t spoken of. ‘Don’t hire the oldie. They’re too expensive and too unmanageable’.”

In addition to his technical background, Winterson holds an MBA from Murdoch University and speaks Malay, and up until the end of 2019 served in Singapore as the Global Director for Risk & Resilience at US computer hardware giant Micron. Now, says Winterson, he’s even being rejected from Bunnings, telling the Daily Mail that he was told by a Bunnings employer that it was only looking for ‘certain types’.

“Recruiters have a bias against people over a certain age – they’re after young people,” he told the publication. “But it's really tough I have to tell you because some of these roles, I fit the job description perfectly.” The frustrated job-hunter and father claimed that this ageist approach will one day have a dire impact on the economy and mental health capacity, with defaulting mortgages, suffering families, and lives lost.

Recently, KPMG was forced to address claims of age discrimination following widespread public pressure over its early retirement policy, finely scrapping the ‘expected’ retirement age of 58 following an eight-month review.

Meanwhile, last year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 500 index for the Asia Pacific saw Australian military veteran job-matchmaking start-up WithYouWithMe top the list with three-year growth of over 13,000%.