Age is only a number for many workers, who are choosing to work for longer. Picture: iStock
Age is only a number for many workers, who are choosing to work for longer. Picture: iStock

Why Aussies are snubbing retirement

AUSTRALIANS are working for longer, with many ignoring "retirement age" and reaping the emotional and social rewards of employment.

Although the age pension becomes available at 65, when typically many workers retire from the workforce, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals there are about 566,000 people aged 65 and older in work, up from 393,000 five years earlier.

Social analyst David Chalke says Australians are remaining healthier for longer so many do not want to retire as soon as they reach retirement age.

"You are still healthy and fit and probably still enjoy work," he says.

"You might transition out of what you were doing before but look for more casual work."

He gives the examples of a former tradesperson now working at Bunnings, or a former businessperson turning their hobby into a start up.

"We seem to forget that people enjoy work as they get socialisation and emotional rewards," he says.

"They get the companionship and fellowship with their co-workers."

Social analyst David Chalke says there are reasons to work besides the money.
Social analyst David Chalke says there are reasons to work besides the money.

Most workers aged 65 and older are employed as farmers and farm managers (50,600 workers); business, human resources and marketing professionals (36,800); specialist managers (32,600); health professionals (29,600); hospitality, retail and service managers (29,600); road and rail drivers (28,500); educational professionals (27,200); and carers and aides (20,900), ABS figures show.

"The old-fashioned courtesies which the Millennials tend not to have are quite appreciated in front-of-house areas," he says.

"(The advertising sector) is full of all these bright young things but when you are fronting up to meet the managing director of Telstra (for example) you need someone who is not in tight black jeans and with excessive body piercings."

"(Older workers) have some skills that have been lost but are quite useful, especially in the blue collar areas.

"They have a levelling effect in an organisation and bring a bit of balance."

 

Half a million Australians older than 65 are still in the workforce. Picture: iStock
Half a million Australians older than 65 are still in the workforce. Picture: iStock

 

More than half of aged care provider ACH Group's workforce is more than 45 years of age and 22 workers are older than 70.

People and culture general manager Nichole Tierney says older workers have an important contribution to make to the workforce.

"Older workers bring a wealth of experience and knowledge," she says.

"Working can provide financial security that is sorely needed, especially for older women who have taken time out from the workforce to raise a family.

"Being part of a workforce contributes to overall health, wellbeing and gives us a sense of purpose and belonging."

Linda Lewis, Kerry Corsalini and Sue Meyer are all aged in their 60s and all recently landed new jobs with ACH Group.

They are in health and safety, internal auditing, and administration, respectively.

Lewis, 62, began her career as a nurse at the age of 17 and, after leaving her previous role, applied for six positions before being offered her current job.

"Experience, maturity and supporting others in the workplace is very rewarding," she says.

"Problem solving and working with different people helps to keep people physically active and mentally stimulated."

New ACH Group administration employees Linda Lewis, Sue Meyer and Kerry Corsalini. Picture: Jo-Anna Robinson
New ACH Group administration employees Linda Lewis, Sue Meyer and Kerry Corsalini. Picture: Jo-Anna Robinson

Corsalini, 61, was made redundant before coming across the role at ACH Group.

She says the time between jobs was stressful.

"People think you are approaching the end of your career, but I have years of experience and I can do (the job) just as well, if not better, than anyone," she says.

"(It's good) to know that you are still valued, that you can teach others, and continue to contribute."

Meyer, 66, retired from full-time work three years ago and now works casual hours.

She says work keeps her mind stimulated and she enjoys meeting new people.

She found the move into her current job quite easy.

"I feel it is important to be flexible, adaptable and teachable," she says.

Read more employment news in the careers section of Saturday's Courier Mail, Advertiser, Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun.



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