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Change is inevitable, so plan for it. A survey of career planning among mature age Australians.

Supporting mature age labour force participation is becoming increasingly important for a variety of reasons, some of which include increasing longevity, shifts in working population, recent economic uncertainty and proposed changes to government policy. Such factors create the need for many individuals to extend their working lives. Yet, many barriers to mature age employment exist, resulting in lower rates of labour force participation, underemployment and longer durations of unemployment among older people. Combined, these factors make it increasingly important for all adults to plan for their future working life no matter what age they are or what occupation they are in.

Career planning is one mechanism that can support mature age labour force participation. Career planning is not only relevant for career success but also for understanding work options, expanding occupational choice, increasing employability and job mobility, improving salaries, engaging in continuous re-skilling and extending working lives. 

This study has provided new insights into career planning among mature age Australians, including their experiences of career planning and their future intentions of undertaking career planning.

Findings reveal that the majority of mature age people simply do not see career planning as being relevant to their own situation, with few indicating they would undertake career planning in the future.

Given its critical role in supporting mature age labour force participation, greater recognition of the importance of career planning is needed to encourage mature age people to proactively plan for their career and consider ongoing learning options before a crisis hits. Change is an inevitable part of life, even work-life, so there is a need to prepare for it through mid- and later-life career planning.

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