Posts Tagged “experience matters”

Date:  September 1, 2015 

A few extra years in the workforce – including in part-time work – can boost incomes in retirement significantly, writes Clancy Yeates.

    Working for longer is worth thinking about.Working for longer is worth thinking about. Photo: Glen Hunt

    Treasurer Joe Hockey is urging more Australians to continue working until later in life, and it seems some are taking his advice. But putting aside what Hockey may think, experts say working for longer, including  in a part-time job, can have a surprisingly big impact on retirement income.

    Rising  numbers of Baby Boomers are deciding to extend their working life, official figures show.

    The proportion of 60 to 64-year-olds in the labour force has jumped from 45 per cent in 2008 to about 55 per cent today, and more people aged 65 and over are working, too.

    Part-time work is also becoming more common.The share of people aged over 55 in part-time work has risen from 35 per cent to 37 per cent, as shown in the graph from the Commonwealth Bank.

    No doubt this is encouraging news for Hockey and the Treasury boffins, who are nervously eyeing the mounting cost of medical care and pensions as the population ages.

    However, working for longer can also make financial sense for an individual.

    That is because a few extra years in the workforce – including in part-time work – can boost incomes in retirement significantly.

    Working for longer lifts retirement income in two main ways. It allows you to save up a larger sum of money – such as by making extra contributions to superannuation. Plus, it means the spending of your retirement savings is spread over fewer years.

    The head of retirement income solutions at Towers Watson, Nick Callil​, uses the hypothetical example of someone who is 60, and is thinking about retiring.

    If they retire at 60, they’d be converting their super savings into an income stream of about $32,500 a year. Working for another two years would lift this significantly.

    “If that person retires at age 62 rather than 60, the income goes up to about $34,600, which is a 6.6 per cent increase,” he says.

    The numbers Callil sets out take into account the age pension’s means test, which pares back the pension payments  our  hypothetical worker gets.

    But what about part-time work?

    Callil says that as workers get older, the bigger impact on retirement savings comes from delaying drawing down on your pool of savings, rather than the extra money you contribute to savings. So, working part-time can still give retirement savings a healthy boost.

    Of course, plenty of people don’t want to work longer. And it’s not always a matter of choice: some can’t because of the physical toll of labour-intensive work. But the figures suggest that if it’s possible, and a priority, it can lift your income later on.

    “What these numbers show is that in terms of self-provision and the system working for you, as against being forced to keep working, it’s worth thinking about if you’re capable of doing it,” Callil says.



    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.

    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

    "Mr. Fix It": Terry Cole, 63, loves to share his experience as former fitter and turner, electrician and electrical mechanic with his customers at Bunnings Castle Hill

    In the second part of her series exploring the age discrimination facing mature-age job seekers, Jackie Keast looks at the advantages of hiring older workers. 

    Judy Higgins established a niche job board for mature workers,, after her husband Shane spent over two years looking for work. Shane had left his former job at 58 as he was unhappy. He figured he would pick up work quickly. However, during his job search, he found his age was consistently brought up an issue.

    “Two years. It was just horrific,” says Judy. “We thought there really had to be a job board for people over the age of 45 or 50, so they could apply for jobs knowing that their age wouldn’t be a disincentive.”

    Prior to creating the job board, Judy worked for the Queensland Government on the Experience Pays Awareness Strategy, a program that worked with employers to promote the benefits of older workers.

    “We had employers saying ‘well I’ll employ them, but I can’t find them, I don’t know where they are.’ So we thought let’s try to put them together, match them up. So that’s what we’re doing.” she says.

    Judy, 63, operates the job board with help from Shane, 67, and their son, Matt. Since its launch just over five years ago, the website has become the fastest growing job board of its kind, with over 21,000 registered job seekers and over 1,500 registered employers. Jobs on the board cover a variety of trades and profession, both full and part-time.

    Judy says employers have chosen to advertise with them as they recognise mature workers as loyal, reliable and experienced in dealing with difficult workplace situations.

    “We had a large hospitality place ring us one day and say, ‘For goodness sake, can you find us someone who will turn up and won’t have a hangover on a Sunday morning?’,” she says.

    After success in Australia, there are plans to launch a New Zealand version of the site later this year. However, despite the growth in business, Judy says there is no doubt age discrimination is alive and well. She says the job seekers who come to them often report frustration with recruitment agencies and young human resources staff.

    ”They’ve got all these negative thoughts about the skills and energy levels of older people,” she says. “They look across the table during the interview and think ‘well, you’re older than my mother or father, and in some cases, older than my grandparents’.”

    Changing employers’ attitudes

    Judy says she hasn’t seen an increase in clientele since the introduction of Restart, the Federal Government’s $10,000 wage subsidy for employers who hire workers over 50. She believes the cash is not incentive enough. Instead, she feels the government has to work to change employers’ psyche and allow them to recognise older people are capable and willing to work.

    She believes training programs are critical for getting older workers back into the workforce and that the government needs to set up employment agencies that cater specifically for older workers’ needs.

    “[Restart] is not going to change anybody’s mind if they aren’t already committed to older workers,” she says. “You could make the retirement age 90. You can pluck a figure out of the air. It won’t matter what age you make it, unless you’ve got employers who are prepared to employ older people.”

    In order to help develop a commitment to older workers, Judy’s website has developed a pledge for employers to sign. The pledge states that employers’ will offer the same opportunities for older workers as all other workers through the recruitment, training and retention processes. Several large employers have signed, such as Woolworths, Telstra and BP.

    A poster company for hiring over 50s

    One major client of is Bunnings, Australia’s largest household hardware chain, who are acknowledged by the Human Rights Commission and seniors’ advocacy groups like National Seniors Australia as a poster company for employers hiring over 50s in Australia.

    In February this year, when Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey launched the National Seniors’ Age Management Toolkit, a guideline for hiring older workers, he did so at a Bunnings. Over a third of Bunnings’ workforce is over 50, with some employees even in their 80s.

    “Last time I looked, the oldest worker was 83,” says Willem Pruys, Bunnings’ general manager of human resources. “In recent times, I awarded a 10 year service badge to someone who started with us when they were 68.”

    Pruys says hiring older workers has been the company’s deliberate recruitment strategy for the last 15 years. “We had lots of training programs, as we still do, to help our team come up to speed with all the information you anticipate a customer might require, but there’s no substitute in terms of trust for someone who’s actually been on the tools and brings years of wisdom along with their knowledge,” he says.

    Bunnings’ initial recruitment strategy targeted older tradespeople who still wanted to share their expertise but may have been struggling to keep up with the physical demands of their trade. From there, management soon realised older workers from all backgrounds brought a common sense and maturity to the business.

    “We found to our absolute amazement – and to some degree, I’m still a little amazed by it – that we were the only people fishing in a very large pool of talent. For a lot of years, we’ve had it all to ourselves,” says Pruys.

    “Having a mechanical knowledge, I can describe to people how to look after their equipment, so I enjoy that,” says Terry Cole, 63, who works in the power gardening section. Terry has been working part-time at Bunnings Castle Hill since February. Terry is a fitter and turner, electrician and electrical mechanic by trade and used to run his own company.

    “I have three grandkids. They love coming to Bunnings and are proud that Pop’s working here. My grandson calls me Mr-Fix-It,” he says.

    Terry says he was surprised and pleased to see Bunnings hired people of all ages, from uni students, apprentices and the semi-retired. “I’m a young person in some ways, there’s some people here in their 70s! It’s great to see, because out there generally, it can be hard,“ he says.

    Daniela Macerola, 51, has also worked at Castle Hill Bunnings for the last three years. “I like the culture here,” she says. “There are a lot of us around the same age group; we get on really well. A lot of us are going through the same stage of life, with kids and everything, so you can relate to each other,” she says.

    Prior to Bunnings, Daniela worked in various retail and customer service roles. Despite never working with tools before, she now works as a tool expert. “It’s amazing what you pick up. They say old people don’t pick up things, but that’s rubbish!”

    Value of older workers

    Pruys says an advantage of hiring experienced workers is that not only do they pass on their knowledge to the customers, but also to their fellow team members. “These people are natural teachers. We don’t have to run as much training, because it just happens informally,” he says.

    He believes some other employers are scared to hire older workers due to health risks and higher rates of workplace injury. “We look at that and say, well, the return we get on that investment is so huge, it’s not an issue,” he says.

    Bunnings is careful as to where it places older staff to avoid physical wear and tear. Flexible working arrangements also mean staff can work rosters to suit them, so that they can spend time with the grandkids or work other jobs. This flexibility means they often chose to retire later.

    “We work fairly hard at encouraging them to stay with us and be flexible in accordance with where they’re at in life,” says Pruys. “A lot will choose to have some form of paid work as part of their lives for as long as they physically can.”

    Pruys says that more and more employers will need to look to older workers as the population ages. “It’s going to be a real challenge for businesses to resource their ongoing growth,” he says. “Even though we’re actively involved now in employing the older worker, we’re going to have to get better at it.”

    The Age Paradox is a series of articles by AAA journalist Jackie Keast 

    Ron Di Giorgio in his home in Newcastle, NSW

    Walk into Ron Di Giorgio’s house in suburban Newcastle and the first thing you’ll notice are the knick-knacks and curios covering every flat surface of the house: the kitchen table, the coffee table, even the stairs. There are samurai swords, art deco signage, a gramophone, vintage children’s toys. Ron says he’s always been a collector, but after losing his job 12 months ago, he now has to sell some of his collectibles as a source of income.

    “I’m not looking to make a huge amount of money on stuff, I just want to turn it over and make a little bit,’ he says. “That’s what keeps me going.”

    Di Giorgio, 52, has worked for over 30 years as a maintenance electrician. For the last 10 years, he did contract work in the mining and manufacturing sectors. However, when the last project he worked on was cancelled, all the contractors on the job were sacked. Since then, it’s been a struggle for him to find work.

    “It’s not for a lack of trying,” says Di Giorgio, who estimates he’s sent out over 250 resumes in the last year. “I started off really pushing for work but after eight or nine months of doing that, I was over it. I’m just sick and tired of doing it, because there’s no one out there who wants you. I haven’t had one call back,” he says. “It’s depressing. It gets to you.”

    Di Giorgio is on Newstart, but it doesn’t cover all his expenses. Selling his collectibles at the weekend markets and doing odd handyman jobs for family and friends are the only things keeping him afloat.

    “I keep the bills away. That’s all I do. The dole, the $250 a week, that’s my house loan and little bit left for petrol. I have no money for food and no money for bills,” he says.

    Di Giorgio has a partner, Judy, but they don’t live together. Judy works part-time and is on a pension. She looks after Di Giorgio by making him dinner every night but it’s difficult for her to support the both of them. Di Giorgio also has two daughters, 22 and 18. While they’re adults, both still need to occasionally rely on him for support as they study and begin their careers.

    “They still need money, they still need help. You don’t lose that responsibility. That’s another stress that goes onto you, you sort of feel like you’re not doing your job, by not looking after them.”

    The unemployment rate in the Hunter Region is the highest in NSW, at almost 12 per cent, with Newcastle and Lake Macquarie sitting at 8.4 per cent. “The number of people getting sacked at the moment is just incredible, especially electrical,” says Di Giorgio.

    Disadvantaged by age

    Di Giorgio thinks his age puts him at even worse disadvantage in this already tight market. “When I was in my 20s or 30s, I could pick up a job next week. These days I don’t even get asked,” he says.

    As part of the requirements for Newstart, Di Giorgio has had to apply for jobs outside of the electrical field that he may also be eligible for. Recently Mission Australia, a Job Services Australia provider, called Ron with an opportunity to do some labouring work on a residential building site. He accepted. However, later that day, they called him back to withdraw the offer, saying the employer thought he didn’t have enough experience.

    “What experience do you need to shovel a bit of dirt, really? They look at the fact I’m 52 years old. They want young blokes who are fit, who will break their backs for them. Maybe I won’t. They don’t know you until you work for them, until they give you an opportunity,” he says.

    The stress and pressure of looking for work has taken it out of Di Giorgio. After 12 months of looking for full time work, he’s all but given up. “I don’t care anymore. If I make a bit of money here and there just to live, that’s enough. I’ve given up looking for work, because I know there’s none.”

    Di Giorgio says he would happily work for at least another 20 years if he was given the opportunity. “It’s a joke, talking about retiring people at 68 to 70 years old. That’s wonderful if you’ve got a job that’ll take you there. But most people won’t have a job that will make it that far.”

    Barriers for people over 55

    Tim Adair

    A 2014 study by the National Seniors’ Productive Ageing Centre found that 96 per cent of people aged 55 to 59 who were retrenched ended up retiring. One cannot assume that these people would have retired anyway. The figures seem to reflect the difficulty of finding work at this age.

    “The average number of weeks for an unemployed person aged 55 and over to find work is 67 weeks, while for an unemployed person aged 15 to 54 it’s just 38 weeks,” says Tim Adair, director of the Productive Ageing Centre.

    “There are certainly a number of barriers that people over 55, or even younger than that, face when looking for work.”

    Those over 55 are the most likely demographic group to face long-term unemployment in Australia. From a global perspective, fewer 55 to 64 year olds work in Australia than in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

    Discrimination on the basis of age is one major barrier to workforce participation. A recent study by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that over a quarter of Australians aged 50 years and over had experienced some form of age discrimination in the last two years.

    Discrimination was most likely to occur when looking for paid work. Nearly three in five job seekers reported being discriminated against and of that figure, a third then gave up looking for work.

    Susan Ryan

    “It’s very clear that subjecting people to any kind of prejudicial behaviour and attitudes day in and day out will certainly destroy their sense of morale and their capacity to be productive workers,” says Susan Ryan, the Age Discrimination Commissioner of Australia.

    The Human Rights Commission’s study found many employers and recruitment agencies told candidates they were too old for the job, despite the fact it is illegal to do so.

    However, indirect or subtle forms of exclusion were most common, such as candidates being told that they are “over-qualified” or being the butt of jokes about their age. Other forms of discrimination, such as not considering candidates at all, are harder to measure.

    Ageism rife in recruitment

    Both Susan Ryan and Tim Adair note that the recruitment sector, in particular, is notorious for ageism.

    “I’ve had conversations with recruiters who say, ‘we’re only sending employees under 50, because we know that’s what the employer wants’. Then when you discuss that with the employer, they will say ‘no, we didn’t send that instruction’,” says Ms Ryan.

    Another study by the commission found commonly held stereotypes about older workers were that they were inflexible, unmanageable, short-tempered and forgetful.

    Attorney-General George Brandis requested the Human Rights Commission undertake a national inquiry into employment discrimination on the basis of age. The inquiry, called Willing to Work, is part of a larger plan by the government to address the economic challenge of the ageing population and promote increased participation of older Australians in the labour force.

    According to the 2015 Intergenerational Report, by 2055 the number of the population over the age of 55 will more than double. This has implications for tax, infrastructure and services. However, these potential strains on the economy are predicted to rectify themselves if older workers continue to participate in the workforce.

    The focus on increasing older people’s economic participation is not without warrant. Modeling by Deloitte Access Economics for the Human Rights Commission has shown that a 5 per cent increase in workforce participation for workers over 55 would contribute an extra $48 billion to Australia’s GDP.

    “The business case for looking at experienced workers is very strong. If you’re excluding people who’ve turned 50 or 55 just because of their age, then you’re excluding a lot of talent, a lot of experience, a lot of corporate knowledge,” says Ryan.

    “We bring in many overseas workers on working visas of one kind or another and yet we have this huge pool of experienced workers who are being left out of things.”

    Government initiatives

    As part of a push to boost the number of older workers, successive federal governments have sought to raise the pension age. Current law will see eligibility lifted to age 67 by 2023 and the current Federal Government has proposed it be raised to 70 by 2035. This will see the need for many to remain in the workplace for longer than they would have previously.

    Ryan sees the need for these changes. However, she warns of dangers to the taxpayer if employers’ attitudes towards older workers don’t change in line with it.

    “If you lose your job in your 50s and never get another one, you could spend 40 years or more living on government benefits; first the unemployment benefit and then the age pension. And if you’ve stopped working at that age too, then you are unlikely to have substantial superannuation, particularly women. It’s a very grim outlook,” says Ryan.

    In 2014, the Federal Government introduced a wage subsidy called “Restart”, offering $10,000 over two years to employers who hired employees over 50. The employees must have been unemployed for over six months. By April 2015, it was reported that only around 700 people had been employed through the scheme. As part of the 2015 budget, the Government will shorten the amount of time to receive the subsidy to one year.

    Ryan says the Restart program has the right intention and that $10,000 could be quite attractive to small and medium size business. However, she says that money would probably make no difference to larger corporations.

    “I’ll be interested to hear from employers whether they see a case for wage subsidies or tax incentives. I’m not at this stage convinced that’s the direction to go in,” she says.

    Ron Di Giorgio says that the Restart incentive is aimed at the wrong target. “I reckon they should give that money to me, so that I can retrain to get another job. It’d give me an opportunity to find other work. I can’t get work in my industry because there’s none,” he says.

    Di Giorgio says there is lots of work available for truck drivers. However, the cost of sitting for a heavy combination licence is around $2000. He says he’d be interested in getting into the rail industry, but he can’t do that without a Rail Safety Induction card, which costs $250. While that may not seem like much to some, it’s more than Di Giorgio has spare.

    “For the opportunity to try a job, you’ve given up every bit of money that you’ve got. You can’t risk that. I’m not prepared to risk that,” he says.

    Ideas to bring about change

    A skills program is one proposal that Ryan plans to put to government as part of the Willing To Work inquiry. The proposal, called Checkpoint, will allow those over 50 to visit a TAFE or vocational training institute to get a skill assessment. Ryan says this will be particularly helpful with future career planning for those who may need to change sectors in order to continue working as they age. This may include those who may need to move to a less physically demanding job or move out of an industry where jobs are becoming scarce, such as car manufacturing.

    “I think if we had a concentrated effort at midlife and made it easy and straightforward for people to have a look at their own retraining needs, we’d see a much better result,” she says.

    Through the Willing to Work inquiry, Ryan will also receive other ideas for proposals from employers and labour market specialists about what really needs to change. The inquiry was due to report on its finding midyear.

    “Having a job in our sort of society is an absolute building block for having self confidence, economic independence, networks of friends, a sense of person and a sense of making a contribution,” says Ryan. “We value jobs. We say that everyone has the right to work. And if people don’t have jobs when they want to work, you can see the devastation that they go through.”

    However, what it will take to change employers’ attitudes about hiring older workers remains a million, or indeed, billion dollar question.

    Source: Australian Ageing Agenda

    The most significant barrier facing older workers in Australia is age discrimination, according to Labor’s Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shayne Neumann.

    Speaking at the Community Work 2015 conference in Melbourne last week, Neumann said older Australians were being held back from the workforce not due to a lack of want.

    “The data shows that older people want to work, however the Australian Human Rights Commission research into age stereotypes found negative assumptions about ageing prevail,” Neumann said.

    “These negative perceptions have real, pervasive and damaging consequences.

    “As one of the largest growth sectors, social and community services need to see a massive increase in services, particularly for older Australians. And that workforce is going to need to be greyer.”

    Neumann said that Labor supported Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan’s concept of jobs checkpoints.

    He said jobs checkpoints would operate out of TAFE Colleges and provide support and assistance for people who need to look at their employment options.

    “It is one thing to get older people into work, but we need to address two of the biggest barriers to mature age employment,” he said.

    “The first is the absence of adequate workers compensation provision and income protection to cover older workers.

    “I am pleased that this issue is the subject of a recent media focus and public debate.

    “However, the most significant barrier to employment is age discrimination.

    “Rather than punishing older people, [we need to look] creatively at how we can maximise the opportunities presented by the longevity revolution.

    “With more people turning retirement age than working age, as a nation we have to address housing and public transport, work and productivity, taxation and revenue streams, age discrimination and much more.”

    Neumann also used his speech to defend the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and said that the social sector was still “misunderstood, undervalued and often dismissed”.

    “While Tony Abbott’s Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison has not been as zealous as his predecessor Kevin Andrews has in trying to remove the ACNC, the fact is that Bill remains on the Notice Paper,” he said.

    “Labor continues to stand with the sector to support the ACNC, which is critical to a well-functioning not-for-profit sector.

    “We recognise the vital work you perform. That is not the case with all sides of politics.

    “I believe this sector is misunderstood, undervalued and often dismissed. Essentially it is a perception issue.

    “You provide services as opposed to products. While services industries are the fastest growing sectors, I think there is a resistance to understanding how we trade and maximise services.

    “Unlike a piece of coal you cannot weigh it, measure it or hold it in your hand.”

    – See more at:


    Source:  Pro Bono Australia

    Working beyond 60: older workers optimistic about later retirement

    The days of retirement at 60 are becoming a memory for many, with 72% of older workers now willing to stay in the workforce for longer and 71% feeling optimistic about the idea.

    These findings come from a new report from Financial Services Council and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Older Workers Report 2015, based on a survey of 500 Australians aged between 50 and 74.

    72% of respondents said they were keen to continue working regardless of their financial situation. But financial security is the most-commonly cited reason for wanting to work until later in life (61%). 23% said they did not have enough money to retire.

    Other top reasons for working later include personal enjoyment, a sense of accomplishment, and freedom and independence.

    The findings come following the Federal Government’s Intergenerational Report, released earlier this year, that outlines that Australians will continue to have one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates, with a projection that 40,000 people will be aged over 100 by 2055.

    The Intergenerational Report says over-65s will increase from 12.9% of the workforce this year to 17.3% in 2055.

    The Older Workers Report found one in three people between 60 and 64 expect to work for another five years, but just 10% expect to do so for another 10 years.

    Age discrimination is declining  

    The report found age discrimination towards older workers more than halved to 13% in this survey. In 2012, the figure was at 28%.

    Financial Services Council CEO Sally Loane says: “We are beginning to see a positive shift in how society and the workplace values older workers. Employers are increasingly embracing the unique skills and experience that older workers contribute and are introducing programs to train and retrain mature staff.”

    61% have taken up training or upskilling services after being offered them at their workplaces. 41% expect to be paid the same as any equivalent employee.

    17% of older workers have been made redundant since turning 50, with males more likely than females to apply for another job when this happened.

    69% of older workers have not applied for a new job since turning 50.

    Nearly half of the survey respondents reported experiencing no barriers to continuing to work.

    Changing attitudes towards retirement

    65% of older workers are satisfied they have sufficient funds to retire, an increase from 50% in 2012.

    55% would prefer to work part-time for the remainder of their time in the workforce. One in three say workplace flexibility will encourage them to continue working.

    Commonwealth Bank general manager retirement Nicolette Rubinsztein says:

    “Australians’ attitudes towards retirement are changing. No longer is the road to retirement such a defined path but providing older workers with the support and flexibility to continue working until the time is right for them to retire and for reasons they choose.

    “Flexible working arrangements have played an important role in encouraging older workers to stay in the workforce, allowing them to maintain a healthy work/life balance and provide the freedom and financial means to attend to their personal and family needs.”

    Source:  Marketing

    Australians must work past the traditional retirement age of 60 to balance Australia’s budget deficit and the cost of the age pension, says the Financial Services Council (FSC).

    The 2015 joint FSC-CBA Older Workers Report found that with every additional year Australians work beyond the retirement age a further $200 billion is added to retirement savings.

    FSC chief executive officer Sally Loane said, “For Australia to remain prosperous into the future, we’re certainly going to need this work cohort working for much longer into their lives.”

    Ms Loane argued that keeping people employed for longer has a flow-on effect into the economy through taxes, productivity and higher spending.

    The federal government has made it clear that our nation needs older workers as it benefits their wellbeing, the economy and the broader community, she said.

    For the economy, we are going to need older people working for longer. It’s an economic imperative, it’s not negotiable anymore.

    As more Australians move into the older worker category, participation rates among those aged 65 and over are projected to increase from 12.9 per cent in 2014-15 to 17.3 per cent in 2054-55. Finding ways to keep them employed is imperative.

    CBA’s general manager of retirement, Nicolette Rubinsztein, pointed out that one in three older Australians said flexibility will encourage them to continue working.

    Flexible working arrangements have played an important role in encouraging older workers to stay in the workforce, allowing them to maintain a healthy work/life balance and provide the freedom and financial means to attend to their personal and family needs, Ms Rubinsztein said.

    The report also found that 71 per cent of older workers have no concerns about remaining at work, with 72 per cent keen to keep working regardless of their financial situation.

    Australians’ attitudes towards retirement are changing, Ms Rubinsztein saidNo longer is the road to retirement such a defined path, but providing older workers with the support and flexibility to continue working until the time is right for them to retire and for reasons they choose [is essential].

    Importantly, supporting older workers in the workforce is paramount to addressing our longevity challenges and maintaining the health of our retirement system.

    Ms Loane pointed out that while it is beneficial for the age group to remain at work, policy needs to address issues such as preservation age and age pension age.

    For a lot of people it is feasible to work into their 70s, but for a lot of people it really isn’t, Ms Loane said.

    How fair is it to restrict access to superannuation for people who literally for health reasons cannot work any longer?

    It’s the latest thing in retirement: not retiring. More workers are planning to continue in the workforce past age 65, and some plan to never retire.

    Nearly 60 percent of 50-plus workers plan to continue working past age 65, and 82 percent of workers age 60 and over have the same goal, according to a white paper published in June by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

    Workers’ plans could represent a healthy trend in light of researchsuggesting that mental stimulation helps delay cognitive decline. But old workers will only be able to follow through on those plans if employers are in fact ramping up en masse to accommodate them in later life.


    That is not the case, at least not yet. Just 4 percent of the employers responding to a 2014 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management reported that they have a formal strategy for recruiting or retaining older workers. And research by JP Morgan found that while 67 percent of all current workers expect to retire after age 65, in reality, just 23 percent do.

    Labor force participation by older workers is increasing, but “workers’ expectations may exceed today’s labor force realities,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica center.

    The problem is particularly acute for women, since they tend to accumulate less in retirement savings and they have longer life expectancies. A new report from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., found that the average income of women over age 65 is just 55 percent of men in the same age bracket.

    “Women face systemic barriers that hinder their ability to access a secure retirement, barriers that begin long before they reach the retirement age,” wrote Sen. Murray to her colleagues on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

    That’s not to say that all employers have their head in the sand. In fact, one major industry, health care, often dominates lists of the best employers for older workers. (In addition, women make up about 80 percent of the health-care workforce.)

    Ann Doshi, a nurse educator at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, is still going full steam at “65-plus,” as she puts it, or just shy of 66. Doshi has been working in operating rooms for 40 years, first as a scrub technician, then as an operating room nurse, and now as an educator for other operating room nurses.

    “To be in this kind of position, they prefer someone with experience,” she said. “It’s one thing to use theory, and another to have the hands-on experience.” But Doshi thinks the same may not hold true in other professions. “I think you find that in many fields, when people reach certain ages, the mentality is ‘maybe we can get someone in here who is fresh,’ ” she said.

    Baby boomers represent about 40 percent of the Atlantic Health workforce, said Lesley Meyer, corporate manager of human resources.

    Carol Indri, 50, an operating room nurse at Morristown and one of Doshi’s trainees, also finds the hospital and its parent company, Atlantic Health, very open to workers in the AARP years. But she said she knows people who have not been nearly so lucky. She pointed to a friend of hers whose husband left her when she was in her early 40s, who has been “barely able to keep a job” and is now “on the welfare side of life.”

    Employers may soon be forced to make more provisions for older workers. People over age 65 accounted for 12.6 percent of the U.S. population in 1990, but their share is expected to increase to 16.8 percent by 2020 and 20.9 percent by 2050, according to Census Bureau calculations.

    For now, though, older workers would do well to have a plan B for their so-called golden years.


    Source:  CNBC

    The potential of intergenerational job sharing will be piloted as part of a push spearheaded by an aged care organisation to encourage employers to offer more flexible workplaces to mature age employees.

    IRT Group Acting CEO Stig Andersen and Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan sign a Statement of Intent to work collaboratively on improving mature age workforce participation.

    Under the model, older workers will be partnered with returning to work parents in job sharing roles and the positive effects on job satisfaction and wellbeing investigated.

    Alison Errey, head of stakeholder engagement at IRT Group, said the opportunities for mentoring and skills sharing through job share were significant.

    While traditional job sharing arrangements have frequently brought together workers at similar life stages, Ms Errey said there could be unexpected benefits from intergenerational partnerships.

    “What we would like to test is why wouldn’t you match the 68-year-old who wants to decelerate their participation in the workforce with the mum returning post-maternity leave who wants to accelerate her transition back into the workforce. It’s a logical fit,” Ms Errey told Australian Ageing Agenda.

    She said while governments have been proactive in developing flexible work practices for parents returning to work, flexible options for mature age workers were lagging. “We would like to see that same amount of flexibility offered to older workers,” Ms Errey said.

    The IRT Foundation and the Australian Human Rights Commission announced on Wednesday a ‘statement of intent’ to collaborate on a range of pilot projects to boost mature age workforce participation.

    Among the other ideas to be progressed are a mature workforce roundtable and the piloting of a skills checkpoint, an initiative strongly championed by Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan.

    As with health checkups, a skills check would be preventative and help set a person up for the next 20 years of their working life.

    Under Ms Ryan’s plan, anyone approaching 50 could attend a local TAFE to a get an analysis of their current skills and advice on local demand for jobs and the training and credentials required to transition careers.

    “It is a fact that most people approaching 50 need to think about moving jobs, particularly people in declining sectors such as manufacturing or print journalism, and also those working in jobs that make heavy physical demands, such as building, trades or nursing,” Ms Ryan told the IRT event on Wednesday. “They will need to look for and retrain for jobs that build on their experience but do not make the physical demands they can no longer meet.”

    A checkpoint service would support older workers to transition smoothly into training or further work, and help people plan for increased longevity.

    The foundation is seeking to recruit a range of partners from diverse sectors to participate in the pilot programs and has already held talks with the ACT Government.

    Ms Errey said the foundation would like to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilots to demonstrate to employers the value of these models, such as an intergenerational job share arrangement.

    “We want to get some hard data around what are the benefits, what are the outcomes of these models which will provide a compelling argument to employers to have a look at these strategies.”

    The IRT Foundation is a division of IRT Group, which funds research, community grants, education and advocacy to promote positive ageing and build age-friendly communities.

    MOST older Australian workers are not planning for their careers in later life, only updating their skills at “crisis points” such as job loss or health problems, a new report shows.

    The National Seniors’ report, released on Thursday, showed almost four out of five workers aged 50 or older had either never, or “not recently”, spent time planning their careers.

    The finding comes despite the retirement age being set to rise to 70 in coming years and calls from Treasurer Joe Hockey for older workers to be prepared to contribute for longer.

    The report showed most older workers were not investing the same amount of time or energy in career planning as school leavers or university graduates.

    From more than 1800 responses to a survey on work and career planning, only 34% said career planning was very important or somewhat important to their quality of life. Half of those surveyed said it was not important.

    The chief executive of National Seniors, Michael O’Neill, said the report showed many were only reacting to “crisis points, such as job loss or ill health”.

    “But planning is vital for broadening work options, improving salary and extending working lives,” he said.

    Mr O’Neill said when older Australians lost a job, a career change or training could save them from the dole queue.

    The report also found 28% of respondents felt they did not need to be in paid or unpaid work and 18% believed career planning would not help them.

    Mr O’Neill said older workers were often focused on their retirement finances, housing and health.

    But he said it was still important to know how to map out a new career path or update their skills in case their retirement plans went awry.

    Source:  Sunshine Coast Daily