Let’s look at the 3 trends of an older workforce that is impacting on the labour market.
1. Ageing population and increase in life expectancy
The Productivity Commission in November 2013 quotes the proportion of the population aged 65 years or more will increase from around one in seven Australians in 2012, and one in four Australians by 2060. The average life expectancy for men and women is now above 80 years of age. The reasons that individuals are living longer can be attributed to:
- better health
- improved hygiene
- medical innovations
- improved medication
- better nutrition
- healthy lifestyle via diet, exercise and keeping the brain active
As our access to relevant information has also improved, it enables individuals to make informed decisions about their health and other factors.
2. Ageing baby boomers and retirement
The baby boom cohort, the 5.5 million people born between 1946 and 1965, has begun to turn 65 years of age, and are looking at the next stage of their life – retirement. They will need to plan carefully to face issues of identity, career or work in a new capacity, relationships, lifestyle and leisure, and personal development.
3. People are remaining in the labour force longer than expected
Australian Bureau of Statistics in November 2013 quotes that less people were retired in 2012-13 than expected to be when they were asked in 2004-05. Older people are seeking to work in a new capacity with reduced hours and commitment. It can consist of part time, casual work or undertaking work projects with specific time commitment that requires a specific skill based.
Some individuals may consider a new work role that is a career shift. It is common that professionals threw their professional white collar and turn their hobby or interest into self employment. For example, to work as a fitness instructor, gardener, or wine maker. It is also popular to work as a nanny or in aged care.
Work can be undertaken through self employment, such as – starting or buying a business. The type of self employment will need to be carefully considered to suit the individual’s time commitment and responsibilities. Older employees may consider a phased retirement or flexible work arrangements with their employer. Phased retirement enables employees to gradually reduce their work hours or days over a defined period, rather than have an abrupt cut off. The objective is to let the person slowly adjust to new patterns of working and living, to reduce the post-retirement stress.