Mature age employment

Unemployed older people turn to volunteering

Older Australians often turned to volunteering if they were out of work or had suffered age discrimination in the workplace, a new survey has shown.

The Benevolent Society’s Dr Kirsty Nowlan said many older people who were not in paid employment often became volunteers because they believed they had more to contribute.

In its recent survey of 1,005 Australians aged 50 and over, the society found 60 per cent of respondents had encountered ageism on the job or while job seeking.

Australians intend to work longer

Australians are retiring later, in keeping with the continuing trend to stay in the workforce for longer, new data shows.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that on average in 2016-17, around 13 per cent of people aged 45 years and over were intending to continue in the workforce until they were 65, up from a decade ago when nine per cent of Australians said they would retire at 63.

“This is consistent with the continuing trend of people staying in the workforce for longer,” the ABS’s Bruce Hockman said.

Older women living and working longer

Australia’s older women are living and working longer, rate their health as excellent more often than men, and are more likely to live alone, according to new research released by National Seniors Australia.

Its annual social survey, which was completed by 5,819 members, revealed that women were also more likely to downsize their homes as they aged, and to worry about outliving their savings and investments.

Gap year for seniors

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has floated the idea of seniors taking a ‘gap year’ in the lead-up to retirement.

He told the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday that there were more than six million Australians aged between 50 and 75 and many may want to transition to retirement through the seniors’ equivalent of the teenagers’ rite of passage ‘gap year’.

“This may involve part-time employment, changing careers, volunteer work or a combination of both,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said he was yet to consult cabinet on the issue.

Jobless seniors to get government help to retrain

Older unemployed Australians living in five regional and urban areas will be able to access government help to retrain from the middle of 2018.

Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the Career Transition Assistance Program would be trialled from July 2018 in Ballarat in Victoria, Somerset in Queensland, the NSW Central West, south Adelaide and north Perth.

Job seekers aged over 50 would be able to complete a short, intensive course that assessed their skills, looked at what jobs might suit them, and learn new techniques for searching for work.

Living longer, learning longer: Experiences, perceptions and intentions regarding learning, education and training among older Australians

Increased life expectancy combined with recent changes to government policy (e.g. eligibility for the Age Pension increasing to age 67 by 2023) will require many people to work past the traditional retirement age of 65 to financially support themselves. Additionally, it is anticipated that Australia's ageing population will have a significant impact on the workforce participation rate; as the ageing population retire, labour shortages will emerge. Predicted labour shortages can be reduced by encouraging and supporting older workers to work for longer than they do now.

Saving for retirement stresses workers

The need to save for retirement is a key reason for financial stress in Australian workers.

New research by AMP for its 2016 Financial Wellness report shows that workers’ confidence in their finances has declined in the past two years, from 54 per cent of people confident in 2014, compared to 48 per cent in 2016.

AMP spokesperson Vicki Doyle said financial stress was common in the Australian workers with over 2.8 million employees, or one in four, under financial stress in 2016.  

Welfare system shake-up must invest in older people

National Seniors says any reform of the welfare system needs to ensure that assistance for older people is maintained.

The federal government this week announced the first stage in a new Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare that uses new data to identify and target groups most at risk of long-term welfare dependency.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said that for the first time, government had evidence of exactly what was happening to people in the welfare system, down to very small groups.

Older workers can boost the economy

Harnessing the power of an older workforce could deliver gains of up to $78 billion for the Australian economy, a new report reveals.

According to the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) report, if Australia’s employment rates for workers aged 55-plus were increased to those in Sweden (where 74% of those aged 55-64 are employed), Australia’s GDP could be around 4.7% higher.

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