Posts Tagged “older workers jobs”

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

People are living longer, and organizations are shifting their attitudes toward older workers as a result. Organizations that can turn advancing worker age into an asset could gain a competitive advantage.

Longer lives, older workforces

Rising life expectancies and an aging global workforce present organizations with unprecedented challenges and untapped opportunities. Companies that plan, design, and experiment with workforce strategies, workplace policies, and management approaches for longer working lives can reap a longevity dividend. Those that lag behind face potential liability concerns and skill gaps. Creating ways for people to have meaningful, productive multi-stage and multidimensional careers is a major opportunity to engage workers across generations.

 

 

One of modern science’s greatest achievements is longevity: the unprecedented length of human lives today. Average global life expectancy has rocketed from 53 years in 1960 to 72 years in 2015—and it is still climbing,1 with life expectancy projected to grow by 1.5 years per decade.2 Longevity, combined with falling birth rates, is dramatically increasing the share of older people in populations worldwide.3 Looking ahead, the number of retirees per worker globally is expected to decline from 8:1 today to 4:1 in 2050.4

These demographic facts have profound implications for individuals, organizations, and society. In this era of longevity, an individual’s career can last far longer, spanning generations of technologies and businesses. Companies can employ people into their 60s, 70s, and beyond as the pool of traditional “working-age” (20- to 54-year-old) adults shrinks. For their part, many individuals find the need—financially and/or emotionally—to stay in the workforce past “traditional” retirement age.

In our 2018 Global Human Capital Trends survey, 29 percent of the respondents rated longevity as a very important issue, and another 40 percent rated it as important. Respondents in Japan in particular, whose population is rapidly aging, were especially concerned about the issue, with 41 percent saying that it is very important.

The looming impacts of global aging

Population aging poses a workforce dilemma for both economies and organizations. Thirteen countries are expected to have “super-aged” populations—where more than one in five people is 65 or older—by 2020, up from just three in 2014.5 These include major economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, and South Korea. China’s 65-and-older population is projected to more than triple from approximately 100 million in 2005 to over 329 million in 2050.6 In fact, analysts have estimated that 60 percent of the world’s population over 65 will live in Asia by 2030.7

Compounding the challenge, almost all developed economies now have birth rates below the replacement rate of 2.1.8 This means that companies in these countries must either attract workers from abroad or tap into the maturing workforce. For a view of the challenges ahead, one needs look no further than Japan—the world’s oldest country—where a shortage of roughly 1 million employees in 2015 and 2016 is estimated to cost nearly $90 billion.9

New research is being conducted to help organizations shape their talent and business strategies for an era of longevity. The MIT AgeLab, for example, works with businesses, government, and other stakeholders to develop solutions and policies aimed at engaging the elderly population. The AgeLab uses consumer-centered thinking to understand the challenges and opportunities of longevity in order to catalyze innovation across business markets.10

Older talent as a competitive advantage

As talent markets grow more competitive, organizations often find it valuable to keep older workers on the job rather than replace them with younger ones. Our research shows that older workers represent a largely untapped opportunity: Only 18 percent of this year’s respondents said that age is viewed as an advantage in their organization. But leading companies are beginning to focus on this talent pool as a competitive advantage.

The older labor pool represents a proven, committed, and diverse set of workers. More than 80 percent of US employers believe that workers aged 50 and more are “a valuable resource for training and mentoring,” “an important source of institutional knowledge,” and offer “more knowledge, wisdom, and life experience.”11 The UK government incentivizes employers to retain, retrain, and recruit older workers, and it is committed to policies that support lifetime learning and training and decrease loneliness and social isolation.12

Proactive organizations are tapping into the older talent pool by extending their career models, creating new development paths, and inventing roles to accommodate workers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. This year, 16 percent of the respondents we surveyed for this report say their companies are creating special roles for older workers, and 20 percent are partnering with older workers to develop new career models. Organizations could find great value in older workers’ ability to serve as mentors, coaches, or experts. Taking on these kinds of roles allows older workers to “pass the baton” to younger generations, while making room for ambitious younger workers.

Many companies are also experimenting with workplace changes to help older employees remain in the workforce. For instance, BMW increased productivity on an assembly line staffed with older workers by 7 percent in just three months through simple changes such as providing cushioned floors and adjustable work benches.13 Home Depot and other organizations are engaging older workers with flexible scheduling options and part-time positions.14 Further, as many as one-third of retirees are willing to work part-time, offering opportunities to leverage this group on a contingent or gig basis.15

Reskilling also plays a role in successful strategies to utilize older talent. One global telecommunications provider encourages senior workers to reinvent themselves and invests in programs to help them acquire new technical skills.16 Software engineers who have built careers on older technologies such as COBOL or C++ can use this experience to learn mobile computing, AI, and other technologies at a very rapid rate.

An interesting and little-known fact, moreover, is that older people are among the most entrepreneurial of workers across age groups. Between 1996 and 2014, the percentage of older workers (aged 55–64) starting new ventures increased—exceeding (by 68 percent) the rate of entrepreneurship among millennial entrepreneurs (aged 20–34), which actually decreased during the same period.17

The new challenges of an aging workforce

The transition toward older talent can present challenges. Older workers may have specialized workplace needs and can attract resentment from younger workers, and they often enjoy higher salaries because of their tenure. Organizations looking to assimilate an older worker population may face the need to design new wage policies, create more flexible rewards programs, and train young leaders to manage people across generations (including team members who may be their parents’ age).

Pensions are another area where longevity impacts organizations. The World Economic Forum estimates that a $70 trillion global retirement savings gap exists today, highlighting the sharp difference between retirement needs and actual retirement income. Moreover, this gap is projected to grow to $400 trillion by 2050.18 Helping older adults to work longer and manage their retirement savings will be a vital need for companies in order to avoid the negative productivity effects of financial stress.

Our Global Human Capital Trends research shows that many organizations are unprepared to deal with the aging of global workforces. Nearly half of the respondents we surveyed (49 percent) reported that their organizations have done nothing to help older workers find new careers as they age. Rather than seeing opportunity, 20 percent of respondents view older workers as a competitive disadvantage, and in countries such as Singapore, the Netherlands, and Russia, this percentage is far higher. In fact, 15 percent of respondents believed that older employees are “an impediment to rising talent” by getting in the way of up-and-coming younger workers.

Based on these findings and our anecdotal observations, we believe there may be a significant hidden problem of age bias in the workforce today. Left unaddressed, perceptions that a company’s culture and employment practices suffer from age bias could damage its brand and social capital.

Age discrimination is already becoming a mainstream diversity issue and liability concern. More than 21,000 age discrimination complaints were filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016.19 The problem is particularly acute in Silicon Valley’s technology industry, where older software engineers are often pushed to take lower-paying jobs or look for work outside Silicon Valley because of the emphasis on the “youth culture.”20

The demographic math is undeniable: As national populations age, challenges related to engaging and managing the older workforce will intensify. Companies that ignore or resist them may not only incur reputational damage and possible liabilities, but also risk falling behind those organizations that succeed in turning longevity into a competitive advantage.

The bottom line

Staying competitive in a world of unprecedented longevity demands that organizations adopt new strategies to engage with older talent. Traditional assumptions—that learning ends in one’s 20s, career progression ends in the 40s, and work ends in the 60s—are no longer accurate or sustainable. Rethinking workforce strategies across multiple generations to account for longer lives will require open minds and fresh approaches.

What role does the C-suite play in capitalizing on longevity? How can individuals adjust?

U.S. employers and policymakers can learn from Japan, Germany and Singapore

Have you ever heard the term “super-aged country?” I hadn’t until I read the just-released Gerontological Society of America (GSA) report, Longevity Economics: Leveraging the Advantages of an Aging Society. The term means that more than one in five people in a country is 65 or older. Japan and Germany are super-aged; by 2030, United Kingdom, France and Singapore will be. So will the United States, raising the question: Why aren’t U.S. employers and the U.S. government adapting policies so more Americans 65 and older can keep working if they’re healthy and interested?

Our businesses and policymakers, it turns out, might do well to follow the lead of super-aged Japan and Germany and soon-to-be super-aged Singapore, based on my reading of the report from GSA and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The study about what the GSA calls “this longevity era” was produced by a workgroup chaired by Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

American employers “haven’t done much of anything to reach out to older workers, let alone accommodate their interests and priorities,” Cappelli told me. “People have to work longer because we’re living longer. So how do we accommodate that?”

Below are a few ways the GSA report says Japan, Germany and Singapore have changed their workforce and governmental policies to keep and attract older workers. “The idea in all these places is to get employers to think about the way to deal with human capital needs,” Cappelli says. A word of warning — one way older people are able to keep working in these countries is by accepting pay cuts.

Japan

The number of employed people age 65 and older in Japan recently hit a record 8.07 million. They now comprise roughly 12 percent of Japan’s workforce, which is a record there, too. And three-quarters of Japanese people aged 60 to 64 are still working (by contrast, only 60 percent of Americans that age are).

One reason many Japanese workers now remain employed past the country’s traditional retirement age of 60 is that the eligibility age to receive a Social Security-like retirement pension from the government is rising. It’s now 62 and will hit 65 in 2025.

Another reason why more people are working longer in Japan: the Japanese government is now requiring companies to employ their workers through age 65 if they want to keep working. The catch is that the older workers must still “retire” at 60; then they return to work under a “continuous employment” policy at a much lower salary. Japanese salaries at age 61 are about one-fourth less than before the worker turned 60, the GSA report notes.

A public-private partnership called the Silver Center Workshops helps retirees find part-time jobs, too. There’s also a catch here, though: the jobs are low-paying — roughly $400 to $500 a month (in U.S. dollars) and in low-skilled areas like housekeeping, park maintenance and bike repair.

“It’s outplacement for older individuals,” says Cappelli. “In Japan, it’s now less about keeping people working at the same companies longer and more about trying to get them into alternate jobs and to do other kinds of things.”

Germany

Germany has also been incentivizing older residents to work longer by pushing back the federal retirement age — it was 65 in 2012 and will be 67 in 2029.

But the country has an intriguing program designed to let people continue working, as well. It’s called “Initiative 50 Plus” and provides training and lifelong learning to older people. Older workers who accept positions with lower salaries get a temporary subsidy for doing so.

“They’re trying to encourage individuals not to retire and to make it attractive to keep working,” says Cappelli.

Singapore

Singapore has been especially proactive towards older workers, but that’s because the country hasn’t had much choice. While only 7 percent of residents were over 65 in 1999, 20 percent will be that old by 2026. So Singapore’s leaders have developed a 70-item initiative to make the country what they call “a nation for all ages.”

Last year, legislation kicked in that “encourages older workers who want to stay employed to do so,” the GSA report says. In Singapore, employers must generally offer re-employment contracts to eligible employees at age 62 and the contracts must be renewable every year until 67. If a company can’t offer a position to an eligible employee, the report notes, it must transfer the obligation to another employer or offer a one-time assistance payment.

But if your company does want to keep you, “everything from the prior job is off the table,” says Cappelli. “Your prior job is finished, whether you were the CEO or an hourly worker. Your old pay doesn’t matter now. Your new rate of pay reflects your real productivity.”

Singapore is effectively telling its older workers, says Cappelli, “You want to keep working? OK, but you can’t just be the boss because you’re older.” And managers, Cappelli says, are being told to “manage these older workers in a different way and be respectful of their experience, but to hold them accountable.”

How well is it working? “The problem with Singapore is you never know,” says Cappelli. “They could tell you it’s working great and you never know for sure.”

Last month, what’s known as a tripartite standard from Singapore’s Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices began encouraging age-inclusive workplace practices, benefiting employees 60 and older. So far, 160 employers have signed on.

Said Singapore’s Second Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo: “The new standard will support older Singaporeans to work as long as they are willing and able to, in jobs that are safer and smarter in a work environment where they feel valued and where their needs are addressed.”

Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Human Resources Director New Kheng Tiong, a fan of older workers, just hired Chua Ai Gek, 67, as a bar assistant there. “Mature workers tend to be a bit more loyal and punctual,” he told Channel News Asia.

The United States

The GSA report stopped short of making policy recommendations for the U.S. government or for employers. It did say, however, that Congress should look at the tax law to incentivize older workers to remain employed and that employers should implement “aging-friendly policies.”

The cloud hanging over all this here, of course, is age discrimination by employers. “We’re fighting some headwinds,” says Cappelli. “I don’t know that we’re making a ton of progress.”

He’s right. But that could change if employers and the U.S. government wise up, especially as America becomes super-aged. By 2035, for the first time, there will be more Americans who are 65 and older than ones who are under 18. As the GSA report says: “Demography is not destiny. The way people and countries respond to an aging society will determine the future.”

Here are what the Gerontological Society of America says are the “realities” of an aging society:

Source:nextavenue.org

Workers and job seekers aged over 45 will be eligible for training programs to ensure they have the skills necessary to stay in the labour market for as long as they want instead of winding up on the unemployment scrapheap.

As part of the government’s baby boomers package, it will allocate $189.7 million over five years to assist mature-age workers adapt to the changing needs of the economy.

The bulk of the funding, $136.4 million over four years beginning in financial year 2019, will be available as targeted training for registered jobseekers to develop digital skills, enhance their employability and to identify job opportunities in local labour markets.

A Skills and Training Incentive, costing $19.3 million over three years, will provide as much as $2000 for workers aged 45 – 70 at risk of being made redundant through technological or economic change to undertake reskilling or upskilling. The worker or employer will have to match the funding.

A separate $15.2 million program – the Job Change Initiative – will be set up to outline career options for mature-age workers who are considering early retirement or facing redundancy.

The government will expand its Entrepreneurship Facilitators program, which promotes self-employment, to 20 additional locations at a cost of $17.7 million.

Recruiting and retraining

Incentives to hire a worker aged over 50 will be increased modestly by $1.1 million to provide additional wage subsidies for employers worth up to $10,000.

As part of the effort to keep Australians employed longer, workers will be able to undertake an online skills checkpoint when aged between 45 and 65 to provide advice to building their careers or transitioning to new industries.

As well as looking at workers’ employment history and qualifications, the checkpoint will look at their involvement in the community, such as volunteering, to see whether those skills would translate to a new career path.

By targeting workers aged in their late 40s, the hope is they will receive assistance to prolong their careers before running the risk of retrenchment, seniors advocates argue.

The government has flagged a need to drive cultural change and stop discrimination against older workers, promising to develop strategies in conjunction with business and seniors lobby groups.

“The government understands the importance of working with employers to ensure they understand the benefits of recruiting and retaining mature age people,” Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash said.

“We also need to support Australians most affected by our transitioning economy by providing opportunities for them to acquire the skills that will equip them for future opportunities and jobs.”

Source: www.afr.com.au

Older workers must not be left behind when it comes to digital skills training, according to a survey and report from Business in the Community.

The poll of 2,000 employees, 1,000 of whom were over 50, found that older workerss are not receiving the training and skills development they need to succeed in the digital era. Only 25% of employees aged 50-59, and 22% of those aged 60-69, felt their employer encouraged them to take up learning and development opportunities. This is compared with 44% of 18-39 year-olds and 32% of 40-49 year-olds.

Older workers were also more likely to feel that their employer did not inform them about how technology and automation would impact their job compared to younger employees.

Separate research from McKinsey Global Institute has forecast that up to a third of US and German workers, and nearly half of those in Japan, may need to switch occupations by 2030 due to a sudden surge in automation. The researchers describe this as an upheaval on a par with the shift from agriculture to manufacturing.

Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Alliance Manchester Business School, told the Financial Times that that older workers, who remember a time when jobs were for life, may struggle with re-skilling.

“Thirty years ago the psychological contract was if you [work hard] for us we’ll give you career development,” he said. “Now the contract is that we expect you to be committed . . . but we cannot guarantee future employment.”

Therefore, what can businesses do to support older workers in their upskilling journey? Nupur Malik is the HR Director at Tata Consultancy Services, which helped support the Business in the Community research. She called on organisations to take action.

“We believe that training and development is an ongoing process and support all our employees to gain the skills needed to succeed at work, whatever their age,” she said. “Taking action will mean more businesses can thrive in an increasingly competitive global business environment and support employees to stay in good work for longer.”

“By supporting older workers to be ‘digital adopters’ employers can show they value experience, ambition and ensure that their businesses are prepared for future skills shortages,” added Lincoln.

Source:HR Grapevine

UPDATE: Liberal frontbenchers Simon Birmingham and Christopher Pyne have backed the process that delivered politicians a minimum $4000 pay rise from next week, with Senator Birmingham insisting their salaries were kept “well and truly in check”.

Australian politicians have been handed a two per cent pay rise from next Saturday on top of their current $199,040 base salary.

On top of that, they will get a tax cut as the 2 per cent budget repair levy is also due to be removed on July 1.

In justifying the decision the tribunal said it had received submissions calling for salaries more in line with the private sector.

“Over the past year there has been a notable increase in submissions to the Tribunal seeking higher remuneration for offices and individual office holders based at least in part on private sector remuneration,” the statement said.

Mr Pyne said politicians have nothing to do with determining salaries and they’re not in it for the money.

“We do it because it is a wonderful way of helping the society in which we live,” he told the Nine Network

Senator Birmingham said the pay rise came after the minimum wage was bumped up.

“It is an independent process and it was a two per cent pay rise this year, after a pay-freeze that the independent process determined last year. And of course just recently, the minimum pay rise for minimum wage was handed down at 3.3 per cent,” he told Channel Seven.

While he acknowledged parliamentarians were well remunerated Senator Birmingham said they were not there for the money.

“I think you can see the processes working to keep politicians’ salaries well and truly in check, there was a freeze, there’s a lower than the minimum wage as people would think it should be,” Senator Birmingham said.

PM gets payrise

Federal politicians, judges and top public servants will enjoy pay rises of up to $12,000 a year from next week, pushing backbench MPs’ base pay above $200,000 for the first time.

At a time of record low wage growth and rising government debt, the Remuneration Tribunal awarded a 2 per cent pay rise to all senior public office holders yesterday, following another 2 per cent pay rise in January last year.

The latest rise was necessary “to attract and retain” people of “calibre”, the tribunal said, pointing out that minimum wage workers would receive a 3.3 per cent pay rise ($22.20 a week) from next month and public sector wages had increased 2.4 per cent over the year to March.

The boost means backbenchers’ pay, excluding allowances, will rise by just under $4000 to $203,020.

The Prime Minister will get a $10,350 pay rise to $527,854; the High Court chief justice’s base pay will rise $11,461 to $584,511.

“There has been a notable ­increase in submissions to the tribunal seeking higher remun­eration for offices and individual office holders based at least in part on private sector remuneration,” the tribunal said.

It suggested the era of “economic restraint” that saw pay rise deferrals in 2014 and 2015 was over.

 

Falling private sector wage growth, which earlier this week prompted Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe to invite workers to ask for a rise, rose 1.9 per cent over the year to March.

The Human Rights Commission president’s pay will rise to $423,650.

Some MPs questioned the pay rise last night. Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm said: “I think we are already very well paid and don’t need a pay increase at the moment. Given the state of the budget in particular, it’s ill-timed.”

Greens leader Richard Di ­Natale said “people have had a gutful”. “At a time when income inequality is out of control and wages are going nowhere, politicians get a pay rise,” he said.

Cabinet ministers, currently paid a base salary of $343,344, will get nearly $7000 extra and will now be paid $350,210 a year.

Heads of the 18 government ­departments in Canberra, who earn up to $861,700 a year, will enjoy pay rises of between $9500 and $12,063, the latter going to the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The tribunal said public office holders were making financial sacrifices. “Office holders serve for the public good (and) many of these office holders do not expect or require that monetary compensation be set at private sector levels,” the tribunal said.

The pay increase will occur as the government’s 2 per cent budget repair levy on top-rate taxpayers end.

“This represents an increase of 1.6 per cent per annum over the 18 months since the last general increase” effective from January 2016, the statement said, noting increases were not granted in 2014 and 2015.

MPs also receive a non-taxable $276 allowance for every night of the 18 weeks a year they are in Canberra.

“This decision is a slap in the face for the thousands of commonwealth public sector workers whose wages have been frozen for well over three years as they’ve been stuck fighting for their basic workplace rights and conditions,” said Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood.

The 170,000 federal public servants have not had a general pay rise since the Coalition was elected in 2013 and have been locked in a battle over renewal of enterprise agreements.

Staff at the Defence Department on Wednesday became the second major department to agree to an enterprise deal which will bring a 6 per cent increase over the next 18 months.

Staff at the Australian Taxation Office and at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet are voting on the pay deal today.

“This decision will certainly give frontline public sector workers the impression that there’s one set of rules for them and quite another for those at the top,’’ Ms Flood said.

Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd said Ms Flood’s comments were “misleading”.

“The main reason for the delay in employees receiving a pay increase is the CPSU’s persistent campaign opposing salary increases that have been on offer for 3 years for most of the employees. The increases offered have been for an average 2% a year over a 3 year term,” he told The Australian.

“The generous pay and conditions of public servants are not under threat.”

Source: The Australian

People Over 40 Should Only Work 3 Days A Week, Experts Claim

If you are over 40 and thinking that your ability to focus and remember facts is deteriorating, your work could actually be to blame.

Recent research by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found that, whilst working up to 30 hours a week is good for cognitive function in the over 40s, any more than that causes performance to deteriorate.

In fact, those who worked 55 hours a week or more showed worse cognitive impairment than those who were retired or unemployed and didn’t work at all.

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The study looked at 3500 women and 3000 men aged 40 and over, and made them complete cognitive function tests whilst their performance at work was monitored.

Their ability to read words aloud, recite lists of numbers and match letters and numbers in speed trials was monitored throughout the test, known as the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey (Hilda). The author of the test, Professor Colin McKenzie, said that both ‘thinking’ and ‘knowing’ were important indicators. Reading tests is the ‘knowing’ part of ability, whilst ‘thinking’ captures memory, abstract and executive reasoning.

desk 2

Whilst some intellectual stimulation is thought to be good to retain cognitive function in later life, with brain puzzles such as Sudoku and crosswords credited with sustaining brain power in older people, excessive stimulation works the other way.

Professor McKenzie told The Times that many countries are aiming to raise the retirement age, forcing people to work for longer as they will be unable to claim benefits until later. He believes that the degree of work may have an important bearing on this.

The degree of intellectual stimulation may depend on working hours. Work can be a double edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time working long hours can cause fatigue and stress, which potentially damage cognitive functions.

He believes that part time work may be beneficial in retaining brain function in middle aged and older people. Should those who can afford to do so reduce their hours, then? And is the type of work you do a factor?

You would think that a job you love which is less stressful would be less damaging on your stress and fatigue levels. The Hilda survey doesn’t look at the type of work and how that affects results, so this is something to bear in mind.

Young business woman relaxing on a floor. [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786622][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/business.jpg[/img][/url]

 

 

Professor McKenzie reasons, “It’s very difficult to identify the causal effects of the type of work on cognitive functions. People may be selected into certain occupations according to their cognitive abilities.” Certainly, high stress factor jobs with long hours in competitive, demanding fields will play havoc with a person’s health in general.

As most people have to go on working after 40, or even return to work after a break to have a family or for other personal reasons, taking care of your health, maximizing your down time and taking restful holidays becomes more important. Professor McKenzie says that, “Working full time – over 40 hours a week –  is still better than no work in terms of maintaining cognitive function, but it is not maximizing the potential effects of work.”

 

A balance seems to be needed, then, especially as the government are planning to bring in full time work requirements until that age of 67.

What do you think? Do you feel that a reduction in hours would be beneficial?

By Craig Allen

Proposals to further lift the pension age have “terrified” some mature-aged jobseekers, who said they were already struggling to compete for work with candidates decades their junior.

The Federal Government has flagged plans to reintroduce legislation to raise the pension age from the current 65 years and six months, to age 70, by 2035.

But with the pressure on workers to stay in paid employment longer, some have called for bosses to reform their attitudes and find longer-term career paths for their employees.

The National Willing to Work report, recently released by the Australian Human Rights Commission, exposed widespread discrimination against older workers, and the myths that they were “forgetful, inflexible”, and had trouble learning new skills.

Last month former Human Rights Commissioner Susan Ryan told the National Press Club that attitudes must change because there were huge economic benefits in employing mature aged workers.

“The business case for employing older workers is undeniable, yet only relatively few businesses are doing it,” Ms Ryan said.

The report found one in 10 business have a maximum age above which they will not recruit — and the average age was 50.

But it was not just private enterprise at fault, with the Council on the Ageing (COTA) claiming the Federal Government’s recruitment practices, which required candidates to disclose their age, only reinforced the problem.

The report also found:
Individuals who were subject to negative assumptions, stereotypes and discrimination could experience stress, and a decline in physical and mental health;
That some government policies and the operation of some government programs were “not achieving their intended objectives and may be serving as a disincentive to workforce participation”;
A 7 per cent increase in mature-age labour force participation would raise gross domestic product in 2022 by approximately $25 billion;
Employment discrimination against people with disability was “ongoing and systemic”.
COTA ACT executive director Jenny Mobbs said older candidates were too often missing out on jobs.

“The selection panels in the public service can be quite a young group of people, and they don’t want their mum or their dad walking in and taking over in the workforce,” Ms Mobbs said.

“It’s a really complex issue, certainly one where the discrimination’s certainly there.

“If a 35-year-old applies for a job, and a 60-year-old applies for the job, the 35-year-old, particularly in Canberra, will get the job.

“Younger people don’t like to work with older people who’ve got much more experience because they feel threatened.”

Seminars helping older Australians re-enter the workforce

COTA ACT has been holding seminars for older workers trying to re-enter the workforce, including training on how to get interviews and how to compete with much younger candidates.

Participant Tanya Astle said it was common for mature-aged jobseekers to be overwhelmed by the challenges of finding work.

“There’s a lot of frustration in the group with not being able to get work … but what we’ve found in the group that it’s really good to get together to support each other and to vent,” Ms Astle said.

“A lot of us have been out of work because of parenting … and the workforce has zoomed right past us.”
Ms Astle has recently retrained, but admitted being daunted at the prospect of having to start a new career at her age.

“Honestly, it is terrifying. Yes, for me it’s quite nerve-wracking,” she said.

Former senior executive Gloria Loewe, 56, said she had lost track of the numbers of knock-backs she has had in trying to find work.

“I stopped counting … it’s depressing if you start counting,” Ms Loewe said.

And she echoed a similar sentiment of other mature aged workers: that working is about self satisfaction rather than ruthless ambition.

“It’s not so much to make money, or have a position — I already did that,” Ms Loewe said.

“It’s just to keep active, and mainly to be useful to somebody or to yourself, or to society. I feel that I still have a lot to offer.”
Key recommendations from the Human Rights Commission’s Willing to Work report included creating a Minister for Longevity, government targets for older worker recruitment, and better education to dispel myths and stereotypes about older employees.

From July, companies can get bigger grants from the Government to redesign jobs for older workers, in a move to encourage re-employment as the population ages.

They can apply for up to $300,000 for projects that will make jobs easier, safer and smarter for workers aged 50 and older, an amount double the previous cap under the Job Redesign Grant.

A total of $66 million will be available to companies over three years under the enhanced WorkPro scheme, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) announced yesterday. The move comes ahead of legislation to raise the re-employment age ceiling from 65 to 67 in July next year.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say was at restaurant Lawry’s The Prime Rib yesterday. He praised it for being an “early adopter” of job redesign for older workers, ahead of legislation to raise the re-employment age from 65 to 67 in July next year.

The agencies also said the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers had announced revised guidelines to keep up with the raised ceiling. It wants employers to give re-employed workers five-year contracts from age 62, up from three-year ones, where possible. Also, it is suggesting a bigger one-off payout of up to $13,000 to workers who are not re-employed.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said of the changes: “As our workforce continues to age, we are going to see more and more workers over 60 years old.”

They currently form 12 per cent of the resident labour force, or about 275,000, a sharp rise from 5.5 per cent 10 years ago.

The enhanced grants come under WorkPro, which was started in 2013 to foster progressive workplaces and boost local manpower.

The Enhanced WorkPro scheme aims to further encourage employers to create age-friendly workplaces, and is jointly developed by MOM, WDA, Singapore National Employers Federation and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

Under its Job Redesign Grant,the previous cap was $150,000 for workers aged 40 and older. Under the Age Management Grant, employers can get up to $20,000 to put in place age-friendly work and hiring practices. But conditions have been stiffened: Companies must have at least five workers aged 50 and older, up from 40 and older, among others.

A new Job Redesign Rider will allow companies already on the Capability Development Grant and Inclusive Growth Programme for redesigning jobs to get additional funds for up to 80 per cent of project cost, or up to $20,000 per worker aged 50 and older, whichever is lower.

Mr Lim said the re-employment age cap of 67 is the next step to help older workers, “but it won’t be the final step”. He added: “We want our workers even beyond 67 to find workplaces where jobs are easier, safer and smarter for them.”

Welcoming the announcements, NTUC deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How said: “We urge all companies to prepare and redesign their workplaces to one that is ageless, so that they are better positioned to tap the knowledge and experience of mature workers.”

Source: Singapore Times

May 7, 2016
Paul Gilder Herald Sun

Events have combined to cast retiree nest eggs into the path of a financial tornado.
‘TOTO, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

With those words Dorothy Gale, the heroine of cinema classic The Wizard of Oz, bravely takes her first steps into a foreign land full of uncertainty and risk.

Retirees and those soon to leave the workforce must be feeling a little like Dorothy this week after a run of events that have combined to cast their nest eggs into the path of a financial tornado.

The big banks set the scene as Westpac on Monday and ANZ a day later unveiled first-half earnings slumps and in ANZ’s case, a dividend cut, citing tough trading conditions and sending a shiver up the spine of yield-seeking investors.

It was the Reserve Bank’s turn on Tuesday, stealing the spotlight from Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison’s Budget by cutting the cash rate to an all-time low of 1.75 per cent in the war against deflation — leaving term deposit holders feeling even more unloved.

Perhaps the biggest whammy was in the Budget itself, with news of yet another overhaul to superannuation in the name of fairness and long-term fiscal repair.

Among changes set to be introduced from July next year, the annual cap on concessional — or pre-tax — contributions will be wound back from $30,000 to $25,000 for under-50s and $35,000 for over-50s.

For those earning $250,000 to $300,000, the tax rate on concessional contributions has been doubled to 30 per cent.

And the total a person can transfer into their pension fund — which attracts less tax than a super accumulation fund — will be capped at $1.6 million. It is estimated that those amendments will put an additional $2.9 billion into the government’s coffers over the next four years.

Combined, the revelations are turning the walk down the yellow brick road to a prosperous retirement into an arduous slog.

Remember, this is the generation who have been told that to be comfortable in their golden years, a couple aged around 65 will need to have about $59,200 a year to spend, while a single will need $43,100.

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, a couple at 65 will need $640,000 to aspire to those annual sums, while a single will need $545,000.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show men aged 55-64 have amassed on average $320,000 and women $180,000, while a household — which takes in the impact of single-occupant houses — has $400,000 in savings.

At those rates, many will be struggling to maintain that “comfortable” lifestyle well before their 75th birthdays, even with the benefits of the Age Pension.

Chant West head of research Ian Fryer says the gap is partly down to the relative immaturity of the compulsory super system, which has only been mandatory since 1992.

“It took a number of years for employer contributions to get to 9.5 per cent, so a lot of people nearing retirement aren’t going to get to those retirement savings levels,” Mr Fryer says.

While few are quibbling over the clamps intentionally being applied to the wealthy, economists are worried that more tinkering with super will further knock confidence in the system.

“The changes … still leave superannuation as highly tax preferred compared to alternatives,” AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver says.

“The concern though is that it will adversely affect the supply of patient long-term saving available to help grow the Australian economy.”

Respondents to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute’s consumer poll on the “wisest place for savings” has superannuation trailing the pack, favoured by less than 5 per cent.

Most favoured bank deposits, or paying down debt, while property was preferred by about one in five and shares about one in 10.

But the biggest long-term impact to wealth accumulation could yet come from interest rates.

The RBA also finds itself in a scary new world after official figures revealed Australia had joined the ranks of developed nations to suffer a bout of price deflation.

Announcing the RBA had taken the knife to the official interest rate this week, governor Glenn Stevens reasoned that “unexpectedly low” inflation — headline inflation was minus 0.5 per cent in the three months to March — was not to be dismissed lightly.

The hope is that in cutting rates, consumers will divert their mortgage savings back into the economy, and that extra demand will spur businesses to lift prices and reignite inflation.

But there is collateral damage, particularly for the reliable over-50s saver.

On hearing news of the rate cut, former Victorian premier and beyondblue founder Jeff Kennett labelled it a “disaster” for retirees.

“Low interest rates might be great news for homebuyers but for fixed income, more experienced Australians (who are) retired it is a disaster,” he tweeted.

Figures from RateCity.com.au, an online financial product broker, show the best term deposits on the market are offering about 3.3 per cent for one year, or about $6600 on a $200,000 deposit.

The big four banks are even stingier: rates of 2.3 per cent to 3.1 per cent are typical for anything up to five years.

“A lot of people are asking us where to park their savings when rates are low,” says RateCity money editor Sally Tindall.

“Online savings accounts are not offering a lot more than inflation, so the answer is often putting your money into a mortgage, which can be more productive in the long run.”

Mr Fryer says low returns have forced many people to take on more risk at a time when they have little recourse to recoup any heavy losses. For many, that means investing in Australian shares, and the big banks this week proved how stressful that path can be.

Lower rates, Mr Fryer says, can provide a sugar hit to shares but can also be a signal of difficult economic times to come.

Another obvious area of investment is property, after the government this week made good on its vow to leave negative gearing alone.

But Mr Fryer says would-be investors need to tread with caution.

“I’d be concerned if people were making investment decisions based on the current cash rate. They need to see if they can cope with higher repayments down the track.”

It seems that like Dorothy, anyone wanting to don a pair of ruby slippers in retirement might just need to do a little more legwork.

paul.gilder@news.com.au
Source: News.com