Older workers

Older workers double in workforce in 10 years (1)

The workforce participation of older Australians has doubled in the last decade with one third of men and one fifth of women aged over 65 participating in the labour force according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The AIHW found the work force participation rate for older Australians had risen among people aged 65-69 from 8 per cent in 2002 to 20 per cent in 2012 for women and from 20 per cent in 2002 to 34 per cent in 2012 for men.

The latter figure also reflected higher participation rates among older men than women with 34 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women aged 65-69 participating in the labour force, while eight per cent of men and three per cent of women aged 70 and over also continued to work.

Collectively 12 per cent of people aged 65 and over were still working, with 53 per cent of those employed working part time. Older women tended to be engaged in part-time work more than men with 69 per cent of women aged 65 and over who were working engaged in part time compared with 45 per cent for men.

Figures in the AIHW report showed that growth in the labour force participation rate by women aged in their 50s and 60s were three times higher in 2012 than in 1992 where it was 14 per cent, climbing to 25 per cent in 2002 and 44 per cent in 2012.

AIHW said changes to the qualifying age for the Age Pension for women were a large contributor to this increased number.

National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said the increased work-force participation rates were the result of better health, concerns around costs of living and the need to recoup losses suffered during the global financial crisis.

“One reason is that older Australians are much healthier than they used to be so many want to remain in employment,” he said.

“But another factor is that a significant number were hit hard by the Global Financial Crisis so some are being forced to remain in the workforce to recoup what they lost during that GFC period.

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