Working it out

The number of Australians aged 65 or older is projected to more than double by 2055. Over the same period the number of people aged between 15 and 65 will halve as a proportion of the population. “

The structural ageing of our population is one of the key policy challenges for our country because it affects so many aspects of our daily lives,”

Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker says. “It impacts on our economy, our labour market, as well as our superannuation, health and welfare systems. Australia needs to boost overall participation, and lifting mature-age participation will be – and must be – a critical component of that effort.”

“This is encouraging because many older workers want to remain in the workforce”

Mr Hartsuyker said the solution depended on workers, employers and government working together. “The economic and social challenges of population ageing cannot be addressed by any one sector alone,” he said. “Last week, my department published some interesting research as part of its ongoing survey of employers. The most common suggestion was that employers themselves need to improve their attitude towards employing mature age workers.”

Employers acknowledged that they could be more flexible with their workplace arrangements, such as the hours of work offered to mature aged people. “This is very encouraging because many older workers want to remain in the workforce but not necessarily on a full-time basis,” Mr Hartsuyker says.

The employers surveyed clearly acknowledged the skills, experience, reliability and strong work and communication skills that mature age people brought to the workforce but noted that regardless of age, people needed to ensure their skills were up to date, especially computer skills.