Posts Tagged “Restart”

A former Centennial Coal employee who was retrenched from the Myuna colliery claims he has lost two thirds of his entitlements due to his age.

A former Centennial Coal employee who was retrenched from the Myuna colliery at Lake Macquarie claims he has lost two thirds of his entitlements due to his age.

64 year old Greg Davey lost his job 18 months ago and under the Black Coal Mining Industry Award is not entitled to full redundancy because of his age.

The Human Rights Commission has referred the matter to Fair Work Commission to determine if there has been a breach of the Age Discrimination Act.

Greg Davey said he worked for the company for 31 years and has been left financially and emotionally devastated.

“It feels devastating for me because I didn’t intend to retire in the foreseeable future and having my working life cut short was a hell of a blow,” he said.

“It affected not only me but my whole family.

“I got paid approximately a third of what I was entitled to, so I missed out on two thirds of exactly what I’m entitled to.”

In a statement Centennial Coal says the matter involves questions of law.

Centennial says the matter was heard in the Federal Court on February 9 and Centennial is now awaiting the decision.

Source:  ABC News

Date:  January 19, 2015

Could you engage in a conceited deceit that would make others think you were younger?

Could you engage in a conceited deceit that would make others think you were younger? Photo: iStock

You’ll have seen loads of ‘New Year, New You’ stories by now – do this, stop doing that, buy a different shampoo and you’ll look years younger, feel heaps better and be far more attractive.

The most consistent message seems to be that the appearance of youth is the key to success. Even for men, who traditionally have a longer shelf life than women, being young (or at least appearing to be) has enormous cachet.

There are plenty of ways to pass yourself off as a younger feller – new haircuts, plastic surgery, a spot of Botox, maybe getting rid of that unsightly beard. Best of all, try losing a few kilos – chiselled is always better than jowly.

But have you tried this? It’s simple and, while not entirely foolproof, it’s certainly guaranteed to bring results. What is it? Lie about your age.

Until quite recently whenever I mentioned how old I was, the response would be something along the lines of “No, really, you don’t look it”, “My God you are not” etc.

So imagine my surprise when I told someone my real age and their response was … “Oh yeah”.

My face had caught up with my birth certificate, something needed to be done, and the simplest thing was to rewind the clock.

It’s as easy as that. Now if anyone asks my birthday I give my wife’s. And just like that I’m six years younger.

Proof of youth

What’s wrong with that? It’s not like I’m trying to commit identity fraud. I’m not passing myself off as anyone else, just lopping 70 months off my age.

It obviously doesn’t work with banks or insurance companies which, annoyingly, want to know my actual birthday “for security purposes”.

It probably won’t fool HR when the grim reaper of redundancy next passes through the office, either. Everyone else will have no choice but to believe it.

And more people are doing it than you might think. I recently read a story about someone I’d interviewed  a few years back and smelt a rat. A quick look back through the clippings file revealed that he, too, had at some point been a bit elastic with his age. And good for him.

My sister admitted to me the other day that she’s been doing it for years and claims her partner’s birthday as her own now and again. She has to remember his star sign and act the part when she does but otherwise, she says, it’s a big success.

Getting away with it

But can you get away with it? Pick a new birth year – and stick to it. Maybe keep the same birthday. You might have to bone up on kids’ TV or pop songs from your purportedly formative years.

I’m luckier – an accent that identifies I’m not from around here gives me a degree of vagueness about these things. Don’t lop too much off, either – ideally, no more than 10 per cent of your real age.

I don’t think it’s a big deal. You are, after all, only as old as you feel. And if you feel like being a bit younger what’s to stop you? Go on, give it a whirl.

Is your age set in stone or do you tell the odd white lie?

Source:  The Age

Date: January 2, 2015 – 
Employment Minister Eric Abetz.

Employment Minister Eric Abetz. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

A key plank of the Abbott government’s employment strategy is on the cusp of failure, with just over 500 job seekers so far joining a scheme meant to benefit 32,000.

The $10,000 Restart incentive was unveiled in Treasurer Joe Hockey’s May 2014 budget, the latest bid to tackle a policy area that has long vexed both sides of politics: how to encourage employers to hire mature-age Australians.

Moments after the budget was handed down, Employment Minister Eric Abetz said Restart “more than delivers on the government’s 2013 election policy commitment to lift workforce participation and improve quality of life”.

It was projected to help up to 32,000 people annually.

However, Senate documents show employers have hired only 510 job seekers through the scheme in the five months since its July introduction.

There are nearly 175,000 Australians over 50 looking for work through Job Services Australia.

The documents warn it is difficult to predict the take-up rate for the $10,000 incentive but it was “likely” demand would grow. If it does not, it’s possible the program could fall 95 per cent short of the government’s target.

Job seekers aged 50 or over who have been receiving income support for at least six months are eligible. Employers who hire them receive up to $10,000 depending on whether milestones are met.

The government has budgeted $524.8 million to fund the project over four years.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Senator Abetz point to the scheme as an important component of the government’s so-called Economic Action Strategy.

“As our population ages it’s more important than ever that we try to ensure older people are contributors economically as well as simply culturally and that’s what will happen under an incoming Coalition government,” Mr Abbott said during the 2013 election campaign.

Senator Abetz on Thursday said the government “expects that take-up will increase as employers become aware of the programme”.

“As it stands, there are more than 600 mature-aged workers in jobs today that weren’t as a result of this programme,” he said, suggesting the total number has grown slightly since the 510 figure was reported in the Senate documents.

“The government is focused on building a stronger and more prosperous economy which will see more employment opportunities as employers gain confidence.”

Luring more mature-age Australians into the workforce is a potential boon for the economy but finding the right policy settings to make it happen has vexed both sides of politics for many years.

Under questioning at Parliament House earlier this year, Department of Employment deputy secretary Martin Hehir said programs targeting mature-age workers had proven to be “quite intractable”.

Just 230 employers took advantage of a $1000 annual subsidy under the two-year life of the Gillard/Rudd government’s Jobs Bonus scheme. That program was also meant to benefit up to 10,000 employers.

“So in one sense we know what has not worked in the past, and it has been quite an intractable area,” Mr Hehir said.

“So while the days are very early and the numbers are probably still low to begin with, you would probably have to say that it [Restart] is making faster progress than the previous work in this area.”

The Abbott government’s Commission of Audit noted that the effectiveness of wage subsidies “is open to question” because they may displace other job seekers and jobs may be lost once incentives expire.

Meanwhile, another job-creation scheme has also struggled to gain traction. The Tasmanian Jobs Programme, which offers $3250 to employers in an effort to revive the state’s sluggish labour market, has created 114 jobs in its first year. The government said it would employ 2000 Tasmanians over two years.

Opposition employment services spokeswoman Julie Collins said wage subsidies were “not enough” to support older Australians.

“We have Tony Abbott telling Australians they need to work longer – but in what jobs? People aren’t taking up wage subsidies because the jobs aren’t there,” she said.

The government has pledged to re-evaluate Restart in mid-2016.

Source:  SMH

PLANNING an early retirement?

You may want to think again if new research released today holds true.

A Galaxy Research study reveals about 27% of Rockhampton’s 16,207 residents aged over 65 can expect to be working into their 70s.

The study found that one quarter of us wanted to retire as early as possible, but 27% would be forced to work longer due to dwindling finances.

And 42% of the 1800 people surveyed said it would be hard to cope doing their jobs at 70.

Managing director of Capricorn Investment Partners David French believes people should be working for as long as they can and start planning their finances in their 40s.

“For the good of society people need to keep being productive until they’re not able to,” he said.

“It’s obviously going to be pretty difficult for some people who have manual jobs and it’s natural for people of that age not to maintain the same amount of strength but people need to keep in mind that we are living a lot longer these days; the average age of death for baby boombers is 92 now.

“Although it might be nice to retire when you want, it would be better to work for as long as you can and earn money to support yourself for when you physically can’t work any longer because the government pension accessibility age will keep progressing to 70.”

Mr French also believes people should be starting to think about their future no matter what age they are.

“People in their late 20s are starting to buy their own houses which is great,” he said. “But people in their 30s and 40s need to get really serious about saving and their superannuation because the government isn’t going to be standing behind you as much as they did before.”


The Rockhampton region has about 16,207 people aged over 65.

25% of older people want to retire as early as possible.

27% will be forced to work into their 70s due to money problems.

42% say it will hard to cope doing their job at 70.

40% of people want to keep working because it’s good for their health.

Source: Galaxy Research; University of Adelaide Public Health Information Development Unit

Source:  News Mail Bundaberg

You don’t always have to choose between working and living your dream nomadic life. It is possible to do both.
Image: Getty

Every winter, Trish Harper is based in Rubyvale, a small town in outback Queensland where the brolgas dance below bright sunsets, and finding sapphires is the dream of many.

Trish and her husband, Robb, spent their working lives behind a desk – her doing administrative work at a high school, him working in a newspaper pre-press department – and focus their retirement on something vastly different. While in Rubyvale, Robb mines on their land lease while Trish works as a local tour guide. Or, as Trish puts it: “I buy him jack hammers and he finds me sapphires – that’s fair!”

Working while they’re on the road wasn’t the initial plan but Trish says you have to just go along with things sometimes. “Another lady who works there (at Miner’s Heritage mine tours) was going on a holiday and they were looking for someone to fill in for her, so I did it… and I’m still there,” she says, adding that she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I do underground tours and I show people how to fossick for sapphires; it’s great when someone finds a sapphire and they get so excited. I just love it.”

But the big attraction to her job is the people she meets. “I meet lots of people who want to enjoy and see the same things that I really enjoy,” Trish says. “I really like sharing it with them and they just want to know more about the place. Everybody who goes there is fascinated by it.”

When they’re not in the Queensland gem fields, Trish and Robb could be anywhere in Australia: at their home in Cairns, travelling around Tasmania in their caravan, touring the Kimberley, or finding small towns that surprise them – just as Rubyvale, the only place they work these days, did. “You have to give those quiet little places a chance,” Trish says. “There’s something there and you’ve got to stop and find out what it is.”

The flexibility of this nomadic lifestyle is perfect for the couple right now and Trish says that mindset is the key to retirement. “I don’t think you can have a dream that doesn’t change when you retire. You hope for a lot of things and if you’re lucky enough to live long enough and stay healthy enough, your dream evolves.”

And ultimately, it’s about having all choices available to them. Trish works the hours she wants at Miner’s Heritage and the rest of the year they just go where they feel inclined to be. “On the back of our caravan we say every day is ‘Chooseday’,” laughs Trish. “We get up and choose what we’re going to do that day, where we’re going to go, how long we’re going to stay there, and when it doesn’t feel right we pack up and go.”

It’s the ultimate post-retirement nomadic life, with a touch of an encore career about it, and another way to make retirement a reality in your own way.


Source:  Living Well Navigator

A focus on the skills Australia needs in the coming decades

A focus on the skills Australia needs in the coming decades

EMPLOYERS would put more focus on work output instead of work hours in the workplace of the future, but senior managers are divided on whether increased flexibility would enhance or damage productivity, according to a new survey.

The study conducted for The Australian by Hall & Partners Open Mind of 103 senior managers across a broad range of industries found nearly two-thirds expected flexible working arrangements to become more popular in the future.

Almost 70 per cent believed more people would work freelance or as consultants, but opinions were mixed on whether flexibility would help or hit productivity.

The survey was conducted across a range of industries including manufacturing, resources and energy, aviation, transport and healthcare.

Almost 70 per cent of respondents said there would always be a need for a central physical office.

A study released last month by the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that as of May this year there were 5.6 million adults who used the internet to work away from the office outside “working hours”, or to work from home rather than coming into the office.

ACMA claimed this comprised 51 per cent of the total number of employed Australians at the time, which increased to 70 per cent when considering workers with a university qualifications.

While respondents to the Hall & Partners survey were overwhelmingly supportive of more workplace flexibility for employees, some expressed concern about the dangers of reduced worker accountability.

More than 60 per cent believed there was a danger that too much flexibility in the future workplace, could damage productivity.

Just over half agreed that a major challenge in offering flexible work arrangements would be the loss of management control over employee time.

The great majority (74 per cent) believed that training and education would have to improve so that workers were better prepared for change; and more and cheaper childcare services would be crucial in the future (68 per cent).

A majority felt that the education system or their companies did not provide adequate training to prepare employees for the digital era.

While more than half felt their companies were well prepared for the digital age, a majority were concerned about managing and protective privacy (78 per cent).

While 87 per cent believed the internet was important for their company, only 44 per cent thought likewise about the National Broadband Network.

In September a survey of more than 4000 people for NBN Co, the company delivering the network, found that one in 10 Australians would work from home more often if they had a better internet connection.

Seek co-founder Paul Bassat told The Australian and GE’s Powering Australia Future of Work forum that while the NBN had an important role in promoting workplace flexibility, a greater impact would come from the increasing availability of cloud-based software, which made it much easier to access software remotely.

‘’Having really, really good bandwidth — fixed bandwidth as well as mobile bandwidth — is really important and I think NBN has got an important role to play,” he said. “But it’s primarily just because we want people to have as fast a bandwidth as possible and it’s going to make flexibility much easier.’’

Cloud computing allows organisations to provide collaboration and communication tools, software, applications and access to documents and databases to their employees from anywhere.

It also allows small organisations to use video conferencing, a service normally only available to big companies with significant IT budgets.

Source:  The Australian

Some people find retiring hard to do

There is a fast-growing global trend for people to remain in the workforce well past traditional retirement ages. | Illustration: Carolyn Ridsdale

There is a fast-growing global trend for people to remain in the workforce well past
traditional retirement ages. | Illustration: Carolyn Ridsdale

Some older workers find retiring hard to do. With the right financial advice and lifestyle adjustments, they can continue to work – and it can even prove good for their health.

Jenny and Peter “Herb” Gardner have created what many would regard as an idyllic transition to retirement on their organic vineyard in Canowindra, 300km west of Sydney.

In a textbook example of long-term planning, the Gardners bought the land 13 years ago, planted their first grapes that same year and then built a straw-bale house clad in local clay.

The first vintage of Gardners Ground wine was produced within three years.

Meanwhile Jenny, now 67, and Herb, 70, progressively shed their Sydney life as they became more confident that the “experiment” was working: they sold their inner-city home and eventually their medium-sized industrial business.

Having worked hard throughout their lives, the couple now work about 15 hours a week.

They grow the grapes, organise the wine-making and market their expanding range, calling on professional help and labour when needed.

The Gardners are representative of a fast-growing global trend for people to remain in the workforce well past traditional retirement ages, often reducing their workloads and switching, if possible, to occupations that reflect their personal interests or passions.

A special report this year on the world’s ageing workforce by The Economist magazine’s Intelligence Unit predicts: “Retirement, as experienced by post-war generations, could soon become a thing of the past.” And it seems many workers would welcome the change.

The report, commissioned by human resources and financial consultancy Towers Watson, points to European Commission research suggesting that a majority of Europeans find the prospect of working part-time and receiving a part pension preferable to full retirement.

Certainly, the broad drivers of this trend to working into old age are greater longevity, generally inadequate retirement savings and pressure on government age pensions.

In their late careers, people often want to do what they were once so passionate about in their early careers.– Alison Monroe, Sageco

Yet it appears, at least anecdotally, that increasing numbers of older people, including those with substantial retirement savings, are finding work a more fulfilling way to spend their time than being on a beach or golf course.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Retirement and Retirement Intentions report shows that one in five working Australians over age 45 intends to retire at 70 or older.

Thirteen per cent never intend to retire while another 8 per cent haven’t made up their minds if they will ever retire.

By contrast, the ABS reports the average retirement age of those who retired in the past five years was 61.5 years.

Research reports and media articles tend to focus on how employers can make the most of an older workforce.

Somewhat overlooked are how individuals can best prepare themselves for working past popular retirement ages and how to make the most of the potential health and financial benefits of a longer working life.

Career coach Alison Monroe believes individuals preparing to work beyond traditional retirement ages should create a “life plan” that candidly sets out the state of their health, their personal finances and their career.

And then the plan should set out their aims to make the most of their circumstances.

Monroe, group chief executive of career consultancy Sageco, is a specialist in guiding the careers of an ageing workforce.

When drafting their plan, Monroe suggests that older workers take into account:

  • Health: Question whether you have the physical and mental agility for your present job. Should you consider a less demanding role? Should you take advice about how to improve your health – looking at exercise, stress, diet – to increase your work longevity?
  • Money: Look at your financial position, goals and commitments. And Monroe asks clients: “What does your bucket list look like and how are you going to fund it?” She typically suggests that clients see a financial planner to get a financial plan.
  • Career: Ask yourself some “powerful” questions about how your career is going, Monroe says. What aspects of your career are working well? What could be working better for yourself and your employer? What do you no longer feel skilled in or passionate about? And what work would you love to be doing? With answers to such questions, she believes older workers can create a vision for their future careers.

“In their late careers, people often want to do what they were once so passionate about in their early careers,” Monroe has found.

“But their careers have moved onwards and upwards. Sometimes, it is about designing a role to use your skills and passions even if it may mean giving away managing a team of 60 and a A$100 million budget.”

For some senior executives, the obstacle to taking on a less stressful role and working fewer hours a week is their unwillingness to take a pay cut.

Monroe suggests that executives wanting to keep working until an older age, yet at a slower pace, should be flexible about their remuneration to ensure that they will still offer employers value for money. “Don’t be greedy,” she advises.

With people living longer, the financial abuse of elders is becoming a worrying issue for accountants.

Dr John Lang, director of workplace health consultancy John Lang & Associates, agrees with Monroe about the importance of good health for those intending to work into their sixties and beyond.

He suggests that people with ambitions to work into old age adopt a practical strategy to slow the inevitable physical and cognitive deterioration from growing older.

Lang says the fundamental approach is easy to articulate – eat well, keep fit, manage stress and don’t smoke – but it is difficult for many to implement in middle age if they haven’t developed good habits throughout their lives.

He is convinced that a fit 60-year-old will outperform an unfit 40-year-old

in any standard test of cardiovascular fitness. And Lang emphasises that productive and enjoyable work is actually good for your health.

Financial planner David Rolleston CPA advises typically high net-worth clients who generally intend to keep working past traditional retirement ages – even though they can well afford to retire.

Rolleston, executive director of UBS Wealth Management and a member of CPA Australia’s Retirement Savings Centre of Excellence for retirement savings, says very few of his older clients want to spend their time “sitting on the beach 24/7” or repeatedly travelling the world.

His business-owning clients usually have no intention of ever retiring, while his clients who had careers as corporate executives usually change their work patterns before reaching 65, perhaps taking part-time work or doing something less stressful.

“My experience is that those clients who had retired early, certainly before 65, are generally finding that retirement is not for them,” Rolleston says.

“They miss the work environment so may take up board directorships and/or work with charities.”

Rolleston is finding that more of his clients still only in their forties and fifties are taking a step that is likely to eventually extend their working lives.

“They are taking six to 12 months out of the workforce,” he says, “to travel with the kids overseas or in a campervan around Australia. It recharges their batteries.”

His practical financial planning pointers for anyone considering working beyond 65 include maintaining contributions to superannuation and regularly moving superannuation savings from a so-called accumulation account into a superannuation pension account where fund earnings are not taxed.

He suggests that older working couples adopt strategies to ensure that their superannuation savings are balanced as evenly as possible between spouses.

This is as a precaution in case the law changes to tax earnings of superannuation pension accounts or superannuation pensions (which in Australia are tax-free for people aged over 60).

Reluctant retirees

Rolleston believes that working past popular retirement ages provides a “critical” opportunity to try to pay off any debts. “You don’t want to go into retirement with debt – it is very hard for retirees to get out of.”

Michael Rice, chief executive of Rice Warner, which specialises in wealth management research and advice, says individuals can potentially boost their eventual retirement income by perhaps 20 to 30 per cent by retiring at 70 rather than 65 – depending on the circumstances.

This is because their superannuation will benefit from five more years of contributions and five more years of earnings to finance what will be a shorter and therefore less costly retirement.

Rice, whose studies include adequacy of retirement savings and workforce participation, is emphatic that older workers need to “remove the mindset about a need to retire” on becoming eligible for the age pension.

He agrees with Monroe that a practical step older employees can make to extend their working lives is to critically examine their skills and to perhaps re-evaluate their worth to an employer.

“You might be earning A$200,000 a year,” Rice says, “and you may realise that you are slowing down.”

Rice suggests that older employers consider the option of approaching their bosses with a proposal to work for, say, another five years or so in return for a lower salary that reflects their perhaps reduced productivity.

“Then the employer probably gets better value for money, and you don’t have that terrible conversation where the boss says: ‘you are not as good as you used to be’.”

And here’s a final couple of tips from industrial businessman-turned-vigneron Herb Gardner for older individuals who want to make a working tree-change by setting up their own enterprises in the bush.

“Make sure you go to a district where there are professionals and qualified labour to call upon for the various parts of your business,” he says. “And look for somewhere with people who appear to reflect your desired lifestyle.”

The Asian way of retiring

Ambitions of retiring to a beach house and watching the waves break are not “culturally prevalent” among the older professional and business-owning clients of Singapore-based remuneration adviser Jon Robinson of Freshwater Advisers.

He says his professional clients tend to leave their partnerships in their mid-fifties or early sixties and take on a portfolio of assignments including company directorships. His business-owning clients remain with their enterprises into very old age.

The An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future report by Australia’s Productivity Commission points out that by 2060, one in eight Japanese will be aged 85 or over – compared with Australia’s projected one in 17.

In China today, only 8 per cent of Chinese are over age 65. By 2060, more than 28 per cent of its population will be over 65. And almost a third of Singapore’s population is expected to be over 65 by 2040.

Robinson says most Singaporeans who held senior positions would have adequately saved for their retirement. “[But] they are culturally driven to want to keep on working. They want to remain engaged and economically productive.”

Robinson has advised the Hong Kong and Singapore governments on their retirement policies.He says Singapore’s Central Provident Fund provides an “absolutely subsistence” income in retirement.

The position is similar with Hong Kong’s scheme, which is newer. “If you want more than that, you should have saved your own money or will have to keep on working,” he says.

Personally, Robinson, who has just turned 55, intends to keep working for as long as he can. “I find work stimulating and intellectually satisfying; it is how I prefer to spend my day. Money is not the primary motive.”

Andrew Heng, executive director of Baker Tilly Malaysia, says his professional clients tend to remain working for as long as possible.

Many give priority to providing their children with an overseas education in Australia or the UK over their retirement savings.

His higher net-worth clients with their own businesses typically keep working into their old age, perhaps “unsure of what to do if they didn’t work”.

Financial abuse of elders

With people living longer, the financial abuse of elders is becoming a worrying issue for accountants.

In Australia, adult children, particularly adult sons, are the most common perpetrators.

Financial abuse isn’t necessarily outright theft; it’s when someone illegally or improperly uses a person’s money, assets or property. It can include:

  • Misappropriation of property, money or valuables
  • Forced changes to a will or other legal document
  • Denial of the right to access personal funds
  • Forging of signatures – on bank accounts or legal documents
  • Misusing enduring power of attorney
  • Going shopping for groceries and not returning the change

CPA Australia’s Victorian Third Age Network Committee is part of a taskforce that, in conjunction with CPA Australia, will develop tools for accountants to more easily identify financial abuse of elders, assist their clients to find help, and prevent it occurring in the first place.

Identifying financial abuse is important, both for the victims and for public practitioners avoiding the risk of a negligence action. Accountants should be sensitive to any changes in a client’s behaviour or financial situation.

“Signs to look for include a client wanting to transfer assets unexpectedly, or if they are always accompanied by a family member to appointments, which may prevent honest conversations,” advises Sue Hendy, CEO of Australia’s Council on the Ageing.

Accountants should also consider that family relationships change. “Relationships and households can break down,” says Sue Marshall, general manager of Victoria Plus at Victoria University.

“If it was a business relationship, people in professions like accounting would ensure that certain safeguards were put in place.”

The elder financial abuse website and toolkit is scheduled for release in mid-2015 (look for it on

Until then, go to and do a search for “elder abuse concerns” for a contact list of relevant bodies.

Further reading

Access the following CPA Library items online at

The New Retirementality: Planning your life and living your dreams … at any age you want (eBook)

For Old Times’ Sake” by Rick Morton, The Australian, Apr 15, 2014

Older and Wiser” by Peter Garber, T+D, 2013

This article is from the November 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK.


Rick Brimeyer


Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2014

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers 55-64 years old working is almost four percent higher than it was prior to the Great Recession.

The number of 65 and older workers is also up, but less than 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of younger workers is trying to recover to pre-recession employment levels with 35-44 year-old workers down 3.6 percent and 45-54 year-olds down 2.3 percent.

Some of the growth of older workers can be explained by the huge baby boomer pool holding on to their jobs and simply aging into the 55 and older category during the past seven years.

In addition, boomers are tending to work longer than prior generations, due to improved health, longer life expectancies, fewer traditional pension plans and perhaps less-than-stellar retirement planning.

This demographic phenomenon is being used to explain various economic trends:

* Tepid employment growth and underemployment among younger workers.

* Stagnant wages due to the larger labor pool and older workers being less likely to leave a job for higher pay.

* Continued low bond yields despite the Fed reducing its aggressive bond buying program as older investors pick up the slack in the bond market as a means of paring risk in their portfolios.

The intent of this column, however, is not to debate the impact of senior workers on the economy. Rather it is to discuss the intangibles that they can bring to your work team.

Too often, especially in organizations where pay is calculated primarily as a function of seniority, management sees experienced workers’ premium pay as a prime target for cost cutting.

That might be justified in cases where a low performance issue has been allowed to fester for years or if someone is coasting toward retirement.

But it’s a mistake in cases where highly experienced employees are engaged, learning and performing.

By definition, experienced workers bring experience. They’ve ate, slept, lived and dreamed about the technical aspects of the job. They are able to differentiate between the few vital aspects needed to make things run smoothly and all the myriad of other factors that are simply noise.

Long-term employees personify loyalty. As young employees attend the 25-year work anniversary for an admired co-worker, they’re likely to be thinking, “Wow! She’s been working here longer than I’ve been alive. She’s talented and certainly has other options. I made a good decision by joining this organization.”

Senior employees also bring perspective. During the tumultuous times of my career, I searched out respected, gray-haired colleagues to help make sense of things. Their experience with inevitable economic cycles, career highs and lows was invaluable in helping me see the bigger picture.

Thus, experienced employees also can bring a sense of stability to the team. They tend to ride a smoother roller coaster than their younger counterparts. That steadiness and consistency can be a welcome attribute in a work environment that is constantly changing.

Here’s a few thoughts for my fellow boomers on how to be that valuable resource for younger workers:

* When seeking advice, others usually aren’t looking for an answer. Rather, they’re looking for someone to listen and ask probing questions they haven’t yet considered.

* While younger workers might appreciate your ability to learn from the past, they don’t need you to replay it. Share the lessons, not the detailed war stories.

* Keep learning and applying new knowledge. You’re not likely to be sought out if you’re talking about “the plant expansion project that I led back in ’85.”

As 2014 grows long in the tooth, it seems an appropriate time to recognize those senior co-workers who have played a significant role in your career or within your organization through their dedicated service.

Older workers — those who are at or approaching the traditional retirement age of 65 ­— are the fastest-growing segment of the workforce and one of the fastest-growing groups in the overall population. In the U.S. the number of individuals aged 65 or older will increase by about 66% between now and 2035. The growth is driven in part by the Baby Boomer generation, but even more so by an increased life expectancy that’s creating more healthy years for more people.

As we learned in our research for our bookManaging the Older Worker, people who are 65 today have about the same risk of mortality or serious illness as those who were in their mid-50’s a generation ago. The percentage of the population over age 65 who are at serious risk of mortality or life-threatening illness will grow by only about 16% between now and 2035, which means that there will be a huge cohort of healthy individuals in that age group who want and need to work. These changing demographics will transform the U.S. labor market and society as a whole. Any employer who wants to engage a skilled, motivated, and disciplined workforce cannot afford to ignore them.

And yet, these workers are being ignored to some extent. About three quarters of individuals approaching retirement have for some time said that they would like to keep working in some capacity, yet only about a quarter of them actually do. Something is keeping them from working, and that something is on the employer side.

Engaging the older workforce should not be such a big challenge. Older workers tend to be in the workforce because they want to be — relatively few look for jobs because they need them to survive. (During the Great Recession we heard a lot about people not being able to retire because of finances, but we’re hearing that less now.) Older workers want to keep working first and foremost because it keeps them engaged with other people, and also to feel as though they’re contributing. Money is further down the list. Older workers also know what they are getting into and what is required when they accept a job — much more so than younger workers.

So, why aren’t we seeing more older employees in the workforce? The problem seems to be getting them in the door in the first place. Discrimination is certainly one reason. Evidence suggests that we are more biased in our views of older individuals than we are of minorities and women. It’s easy to see that bias if we compare the images that come to mind when we contrast the words “older,” which brings up negative stereotypes, and “experienced,” which brings up positive ones.

The other challenge is fear. Younger supervisors are often afraid of managing older employees because these older workers have more experience than they do. The less experienced managers may wonder, “How can I say, ‘Do this because I know best’ when often I don’t know best?” Older workers may also have some initial trouble being managed by younger supervisors, especially those with less practical experience than they have. But it’s up to supervisors to shape the relationship beginning with the first interaction by saying how they want to use the older worker’s experience, while pointing out what their own responsibilities are for setting goals and holding people accountable.

It’s not just a confidence issue. Younger supervisors may find that what works with most of their staff doesn’t work for older employees. They aren’t as fearful of being fired (they’re already at retirement age) and they have less interest in promotions or a big payout in the future.

So how do you keep an older worker engaged? Start by acknowledging and using their experience. Certainly this is true for any age group: Everyone wants their expertise to be recognized, especially by the boss. But with older workers, it’s even more important, because they typically have a lot of experience — so ignoring it is especially irritating. And older workers themselves can be prickly about being managed by someone who knows less than they do.

The military has developed some good tactics for recognizing and appreciating older workers’ expertise based on the efforts of generations of junior officers fresh out of college and struggling to manage older, more experienced sergeants. Military leaders now advise those officers to treat their experienced subordinates as partners, at least behind the scenes.  The supervisor is still in charge, but he’s missing an opportunity (and is more likely to make a mistake) if he doesn’t check in with his more experienced subordinates — at least to hear their thoughts — before making important decisions. The supervisor still sets the goals and holds people accountable for meeting them. But the subordinates have a big say in the execution, and when they walk out of their private meetings with their managers, they need to be on the same page.

In the workplace, it’s useful to check in with individual older workers to ask them what problems they could foresee in executing a specific task (“Here’s what we need done”). If you don’t take any advice they offer, it’s helpful to explain why not (“I know it’s an aggressive deadline, but it’s important to finish this before the new manager takes over”).

In terms of their interests, older workers tend to be more like young workers than like their middle-aged peers. Their big financial needs are typically behind them, work is often a source of social interaction for them, and they care more about the good works that their employer might be doing than the cohorts in middle age. Supervisors should consider giving older works jobs with more customer interaction (frontline jobs) or those dealing with internal customers.

Research also suggests that putting older and young workers together helps both groups perform better. They make good allies in part because of their similar interests, but because of their different stages of life, they are less competitive with each other than workers in the same age cohort might be. That means that they are more likely to help each other and to form good teams.

The bottom line is that companies looking to increase engagement, performance, and loyalty need to do a much better job of engaging this growing — and valuable — segment of the workforce. For employers who say they want a workforce that can “hit the ground running,” that doesn’t need training or ramp-up time to figure out what to do, that will be conscientious, and that knows how to get along with others, older workers are the perfect match.

More blog posts by 

Peter Cappelli is Professor of Management at the Wharton School and the author of several books, including his latest, The India Way(Harvard Business Review Press, 2010).

Victorian Business Editor

ALMOST half of all workers believe they will remain in their current job for less than five years, and one in seven say they will stay less than a year as employees become more demanding of employers and seek to broaden their career experiences, according to a Newspoll survey.

The survey, conducted for The Australian last month, of 700 people involved in full and part-time work found those aged 18-34 years were significantly more likely to believe they would stay less than five years in their current job (57 per cent) compared with those aged 35-49 (38 per cent).

It found there were no significant differences between genders or geographic areas.

The survey also found an overwhelming majority of workers (80 per cent) believed their job would be more difficult or impossible without access to computer technology.

The trend was even more pronounced among those aged 35-49 (86 per cent) and those living in the five main capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth (84 per cent).