Working at 60 and loving it

While recently having a coffee with a friend, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation at the table next to ours. Two women in their 60s were enthusiastically discussing their jobs. Their tête-à-tête was inspiring.

Judy Higgins is the co-founder of online jobs board, Olderworkers.
Image: iStock

Inspiring woman number one was talking about how much she loves her job and how her employer has trained her to use all the technology available to make her job easier. She’s a team leader with a large cleaning company. She works part-time and job-shares with another person. She enjoys the fact that her employer is happy to be flexible and to provide ongoing training, as she’s eager to learn. The conversation turned to interviewing staff, and how often she hears older women talk about how difficult they find it to secure a job. This is particularly true, she recounted, if they’ve been out of the workforce for a while, despite the obvious life experience and work skills they have. “How lucky we are to have jobs at our age,” she said.

Inspiring woman number two agreed. She shared that she’s enjoying her job despite having moved from part-time to full-time work at the request of the employer. She says she’s happy to help her employer during a busy period and hopes eventually to move back to part-time work; she’d gladly train someone else to help make that happen.

What an uplifting conversation!

Recent research shows that these two friends are among a growing segment of Australian women. The number of older Australians in the workforce is rising, with an increased number of Aussie women working past the age of 55, according to a research report from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research entitled Two Decades of Change: The Australian Labour Market 1993-2013.

The report shows a sharp rise in the number of women aged 60 to 64 still in the labour force, from 15.2 per cent in 1993 to 45.1 per cent in 2013. The number of women aged 55 to 59 working in 2013 hit 65.3 per cent, up from 36.8 per cent in 1993.

Likewise, the number of men aged 65 or older working more than doubled over the two decades, reaching 16.9 per cent in 2013, and the number of those aged 60 to 64 increased from 48.3 per cent in 1993 to 62.5 per cent in 2013.

The good news is, these figures are increasing; the bad news is, we still have a long way to go to wipe out age discrimination.

Source: NRMA

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