Older Australians slipping through the cracks

Over-65s are caught between a transition to a new retirement system, a changing labour market and an economy that still values their skills.

Older Australians slipping through the cracks

Australians over 65 are now the single fastest growing age group securing work, up by 11 per cent over the past 12 months, according to new research into the changing nature of the jobs market.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) research shows that a record 610,000 people aged 65 or older now hold down part or full-time work.

However, while there is a record number of older Australians in the workforce, there has also been an increase in unemployment for over-65s seeking a job, with many finding their skills and experience unwanted by prospective employers. There has been a 39 per cent rise in the number of unemployed over-65s looking for full-time work and a 28 per cent rise in those looking for any type of work.

The research suggests that a number of older Australians are struggling to make ends meet, particularly those who have not benefitted from a lifetime of superannuation contributions and are seeking work. So too, are many who are discovering they did not have enough stashed away for retirement, as well as those who have lost jobs in their late 50s and are finding that Newstart payments aren’t enough to keep them going until they reach Age Pension age.

West Australian workplace diversity expert Conrad Liveris also believes that early retirees may have discovered they missed work and are looking to re-enter the jobs market.

“The 65-plus age group is caught between a transition to a new retirement system, a changing labour market and an economy that still values their skills,” said Mr Liveris, in a Sydney Morning Herald report.

“And also, they’re not dying. Their health is pretty damn good. They are not going anywhere.”

It seems that older Australians are also taking on more than one job, with separate figures from the ABS showing that between 2011-12 and 2016-17 the proportion of over-60s holding down more than one job grew by 18 per cent – four per cent more than the national average.

According to YourLifeChoices research, more older Australians intend to retire later now than they did in 2015. In the annual Insights Survey, those approaching retirement age (60-64) were asked when they intend to retire. In 2015, 32.69 per cent said 65, 9.21 per cent said 67 and 6.39 per cent said 70 or older. The 2019 Insights Survey showed a marked difference – 20.11 per cent said 65, 23.26 per cent said 67 and 7.25 per cent said 70 or older.

These numbers, along with those from the ABS, highlight the need to raise the Newstart allowance or create a special payment for older people transitioning to Age Pension age.

Are you one of those slipping through the cracks? Do you think there a transition-to-retirement payment should be introduced to help older Australians make it through to pension age? Have you struggled to find work in your 50s, 60s or beyond?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    12th Aug 2019
    It's now called work till you drop, no better way to say it. Maybe SCO-Mo can use this as the next catchy phrase.
    Retirement is the 4 week holidays you get every year.

    Let the sheep know you cannot survive on the pension alone and keep it low and the sheep will keep working and paying taxes till they drop.

    There is no alternative.

    And before the wealthy on this board start putting there 2 cents in "shutup"
    12th Aug 2019
    Wrong, Panos, the catchy phrase they like is "Hurry up and die".

    It will need some work to make it sound better, but the principle will remain the same. Sort of like "Why the bloody hell are you still here", or "How good is death!".

    It's what you get when you elect a marketing geek.
    12th Aug 2019
    And they’re legalising Assisted Dying to hurry everyone up.
    12th Aug 2019
    A transition-to-retirement scheme would help the over 50s deal with often lengthy unemployment and preserve savings toward retirement.

    This issue is more troublesome for unemployed under 65s with modest savings under their belts. They are forced to prematurely run these down savings and sell assets after finding themselves ineligible for Newstart or Austudy relief. Once these are depleted they are left eking out a living on Newstart until they reach retirement when they become reliant upon the pension.
    12th Aug 2019
    Farside, The transition to retirement scheme only works when your employer is willing to do so. A lot of them won't and that includes government departments.

    After an accident and wanting to continue working for a couple more years, I tried to use the transition to retirement scheme to cut down from 5 days a week to 4, which would have made a huge difference and enabled me to recover properly.

    It was refused, even though there was someone able and willing to pick up the extra day. Ended up retiring 4 months later when turned 65. That one day would have made all the difference to my staying on for a couple of extra years.
    12th Aug 2019
    I think the article is about something different to the existing employer involved arrangements. I know many who have been forced into early retirement in their 50s and running down their savings at a rate they had not anticipated. For example it could be a progressive increase in Newstart until reaching pension age.

    12th Aug 2019
    Stoopid is as stoopid does,sir.. and stoopid is as management does these days, given that they are usually twerps with little idea and with an absolute selfish approach to all things life.

    As a nation, we are rapidly becoming more and more like the much-lamented US, in which people put their own profit etc first without realising that people are your principle product.

    Too many self-centred, often stupid in reality, and selfish and inexperienced characters, often from grasping peasant backgrounds these days - getting to be the bosses. Look at our politicians for a clear example. Anyone who purveys the kind of nonsense they do simply cannot be serious.... but they do it with a straight face.
    13th Aug 2019
    So I am being censored now for having a contrary opinion!

    Both comments removed yesterday first simply for pointing out there is NO retirement age in Australia save for a very few professions, (Law and Clergy for example). There is only the age at which you become eligible to apply for the age pension. You can retire whenever you want if you can provide for yourself.

    And the other comment referred to the fact that the raising of the age of eligibilty to apply for the age pension is reflected in the lower percentages in the lower age bracket and a higher percentage in the next age bracket. This does not point to an increase at all; merely a shifting of the age bracket as people must wiat to become eligible. Add the two percentages together for each age and the numbers are almost the same. This is just more 'creative' writting aimed at stirring up angst and outrage where none exists in reality.
    13th Aug 2019
    censorship of your comments seems to be a bit harsh given some of the comments we see from time to time. There seems to be a blind eye turned to all manner of posts. I wonder what was so offensive in your posts that they had to be removed.
    14th Aug 2019
    Yes, KSS, I too am puzzled why your posts would be removed if they were as straightforward as you have explained above. Maybe there was more to it?

    I did notice one of your assertions was correct - if you add up the percentages for people wanting to retire by 67. In fact the percentage is higher in 2019 (43.37) compared to 2015 (41.90), hence the change clearly reflects the change in the pension age to 67 hitting home. Blame Labor (Wayne Swan) for that, while he enjoys a massive $200K+ fixed pension for life without any test. This means the statistics of more people trying to work between 65 & 67 simply shows they are struggling to survive to reach pension age. It shows how Labor's nasty action, combined with Liberals nasty changes to the Assets Test in 2017, have badly affected people in the age brackets above 60. BOTH major parties are anti-retiree,and it is up to people especially those 60+ to take action and remove all sitting MPs.

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