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COVID-19 Employment Study

Mature Workers in Organisations
The trend towards an ageing population is expected to continue for decades to come. The Mature Worker’s in Organisations (MWOS) project aims to investigate the experiences and needs of mature and maturing workers and the organisation that employ them.

What is the Project About?

The trend towards an ageing population is expected to continue for decades to come. The Mature Worker’s in Organisations (MWOS) project aims to investigate the experiences and needs of mature and maturing workers and the organisation that employ them.


The recent outbreak of the novel COVID-19 virus has caused governments to take extraordinary measures restricting the movement of large proportions of the population. Organisations have had to rapidly respond to these continuously evolving conditions, including making decisions about staffing and work locations. We hope to learn about what experiences with staffing and actions organisation leaders are taking during this unprecedented global pandemic.


Results from this study will shed light on current work practices and will identify lessons learned and opportunities for employers and workers in the future.


We are expecting to recruit approximately 1-3 leaders per participating organisation for this project.

Want to participate?

  • Who is doing the Research?
    The project is being conducted by Professor Sharon Parker at the Future of Work Institute, Curtin University in Perth, WA, Australia and Professor Marian Baird AO, Professor of Gender and Employment Relations, Head of Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies, University of Sydney in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Data collection outside of Australia will be managed by local Research Collaborators and/or Research Assistants. Our research collaborators and/or research assistants are highly professional people with research interests around the issues of workers and organisational practices. This research project is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) to the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (project number CE170100005). There will be no costs to you and you will not be paid for participating in this project.
  • Why am I being asked to take part and what will I have to do?
    We are looking for adults employed in leadership roles. Participants will be asked to take part in an interview/focus group that asks about how their organization is responding to changes to staffing and work resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The study will take place via video conference, and will take approximately 20 minutes. There will be no cost to you for taking part in this research and you will not be paid for taking part. We will make a digital audio recording of our discussion so we can concentrate on what you have to say and not distract ourselves with taking notes. After the interview/focus group we will make a full written copy of the recording.
  • Are there any benefits’ to being in the research project?
    There may not be direct benefit to you from participating in this research. We hope the results of this research will allow us to better understand how organisations make staffing and work decisions in times of crisis.
  • Are there any risks, side-effects, discomforts or inconveniences from being in the research project?"
    Apart from giving up your time, we do not expect that there will be any risks or inconveniences associated with taking part in this study. However, we understand that during this time many people may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed due to COVID-19. We have collated some information on services if you would like to seek support during this time, which can be found at the end of this Information Sheet. If you do feel upset or would like to discuss any issues further, you are encouraged to contact Relationships Australia which offers counselling services, visit their website or call 1300 364 277. This number will put you in touch with the nearest Relationships Australia branch to yourself. For crisis support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Alternatively, please contact your preferred counselling service or General Practitioner.
  • Who will have access to my information?
    The information collected in this research will be re-identifiable (coded). This means that we will collect data that can identify you, but will then remove identifying information on any data orsample and replace it with a code when we analyse the data. Only the research team have access to the code to match your name or position if it is necessary to do so. Any information we collect will be treated as confidential and used only in this project unless otherwise specified. The following people will have access to the information we collect in this research: the research team and, in the event of an audit or investigation, staff from the Curtin University Office of Research and Development. The results of this research may be reported to participating organisations through a summary of key themes that have arisen across interviews. Any excerpts from the interviews shared with the participating organisations to illustrate main themes uncovered in the interviews will be deidentified by removing your name as well as any other identifiable information such as exact job role, department etc. The information we collect may also be presented at conferences or published in professional journals. You will not be identified in any results that are published or presented. The information we collect in this study will be kept under secure conditions at Curtin University for 7 years and then it will be destroyed. All electronic data will be password-protected and any hard copy data will be locked in storage. The employing organisations will not have access to your raw interview recordings or transcripts.
  • Do I have to take part in the research project?
    Taking part in a research project is voluntary. It is your choice to take part or not. You do not have to agree if you do not want to. If you decide to take part and then change your mind, that is okay, you can withdraw from the project. If you choose to leave the study we will be unable to destroy your information because it has been collected in an anonymous way.
  • What happens next and who can I contact about the research?
    Contacts: Gretchen Petery 08 9266 4877 Alison Williams 02 8627 7792 If you decide to take part, your interviewer will ask for your consent by asking the question “Do you understand the purpose, extent and possible risks of your involvement in this project and do you voluntarily consent to take part in this research project?” By responding “yes”, you are telling us that you understand what you have read and what has been discussed and that you agree to be in the research project. Please take your time to ask any questions you have before you decide what to do. You will be given a copy of this information form to keep. Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) has approved this study (HRE2020-0177). Should you wish to discuss the study with someone not directly involved, in particular, any matters concerning the conduct of the study or your rights as a participant, or you wish to make a confidential complaint, you may contact the Ethics Officer on (08) 9266 9223 or the Manager, Research Integrity on (08) 9266 7093 or email
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