Over 65s flooding the job market – and finding they’re not so employable

Older Australians struggling to make ends meet or looking to boost their quality of life are flooding the national jobs market in record numbers but many are finding their skills and experience unwanted by prospective employers.

Special research into the changing nature of the jobs market reveals people over the age of 65 are the single fastest growing age group securing work, up by 11 per cent over the past 12 months alone.

There is a record number of older Australians in the workforce but they have also seen a huge jump in unemployment for those seeking a job
There is a record number of older Australians in the workforce but they have also seen a huge jump in unemployment for those seeking a jobCREDIT:PETER BRAIG

At the same time, the general workforce has lifted by 3 per cent.

There are now a record 610,000 people 65 or older holding down part or full time work.

But despite the large increase, many older Australians are finding it very difficult to get work with a 39 per cent jump in the number of unemployed over 65s looking to tie down a full time job.

Unemployment across 65-year-olds looking for any type of work has jumped by almost 28 per cent. Across the general population it fell by a full percentage point over the past year.

West Australian workplace diversity expert Conrad Liveris said there were a range of issues that were seeing so many older Australians enter the workforce and then struggle to get the job they wanted.

Older Australians are facing a battle to get back into the workforce, says Conrad Liveris.
Older Australians are facing a battle to get back into the workforce, says Conrad Liveris.CREDIT:AFR

He said many were returning to work to maintain a decent quality of life, discovering they did not have enough cash stored away for retirement.

This was a generation that did not have compulsory superannuation through their entire working lives and women in particular are at risk of reaching their mid-60s without a large nest egg to see them through retirement.

Mr Liveris said there was also evidence of early retirees who have discovered they missed work and, with demand relatively strong across the jobs market, have gone back for employment

“The 65-plus age group is caught between a transition to a new retirement system, a changing labour market and an economy which still values their skills,” he said.
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“And also, they’re not dying. Their health is pretty damn good. They are not going anywhere.”

The law is also keeping them in work longer. Last month the age at which a person can access the pension was increased to 66 from 65.5 years.

Older Australians aren’t just flooding into the workforce. They’re also taking on more than one job.

Separate figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that between 2011-12 and 2016-17 the proportion of people holding down more than one job grew by 14 per cent.

But among those over the age of 60, the increase was 18 per cent.

Source: The Age

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