Mature-age contribution worth billions while giving back

  • MAY 07, 2015
Rachel Kent, a former IT consultant, volunteers to help other seniors in Sydney. Picture:

Rachel Kent, a former IT consultant, volunteers to help other seniors in Sydney.

The employment of Australians aged 45 and older is said to be worth $27.4 billion each year, through reduced human resources costs.

A new study shows that workers older than 45 help reduce turnover, bringing down recruitment and training expenses, and also serve as a valuable source of informal care while giving back to the community through volunteer work.

Research funded by the Nation­al Seniors Productive Ageing Centre puts the economic value of these contributions at $65.7bn per year, providing a “significant offset” to perceived sustain­ability issues posed by an ageing population.

The findings, to be released by National Seniors Australia, suggest that a worker aged 45 will remain with an employer 3.7 times longer than a younger worker.

The paper also shows the contribution of Australians aged 45 and older in providing informal care for the elderly or those with disabilities is $20.5bn, while the value of those caring for their grand­kids is estimated at $1.5bn.

The involvement of mature-aged Australians in volunteer work is valued at $16.3bn per year, with data showing that 1.6 million people older than 45 volunteer in some capacity for an average of 6.09 hours per week.

Rachel Kent, a 69-year-old pensioner who lives in the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, gives her time to help senior citizens devel­op their computer skills, use emails and navigate the internet.

Ms Kent is a former IT training consultant and says she is happy giving her time to help others, particularly older Australians and women who need to update skills upon re-entering the workforce.

“I would like to help older people because they can feel so isolated if they are not using a computer and today with tablets it’s really so much more simple,” she said.

“It was something I always had in mind in when I was working.

“I also like to help women who want to go back to work for whatever reason.”

Roy Stall, a 71-year-old former naval officer, also volunteers up to six days a month at the Maritime Museum in Fremantle and is still active in Asia as a specialist in maritime English.

“I think we make a contribution to the economy,” he said. “Our economic contribution is not often appreciated and certainly what we can contribute back to the community is not necessarily valued in the corridors of power.’’

Source: The Australian

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