Baby boomer men would rather retire early than take on part-time work, claims a senior economist referring to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) labour figures released on 21 June.
This could mean we increasingly see more ‘disillusioned’ men aged 55 plus leaving the workforce over the next few years, says Westpac Senior Economist Justin Smirk.
While female workforce participation rates have increased over the last year, the rate at which men are leaving the workforce has pulled down male unemployment figures from 5.7 per cent to 5.4 per cent.
Male participation rates (70.68 per cent) are still higher than female participation rates (60.44 per cent), but the trends are moving in the opposite direction.
“We are … now seeing disillusioned males leave the labour force,” said Mr Smirk.
“If this trend continues through 2018, it is possible that the unemployment rate will fall even if there are job losses in male employment sectors (such as construction, transport and white collar).”
He noted that part-time employment is the area in which females are making the most employment gains, growing by 96,600 compared to male part-time employment rates increasing just 28,400.
“It is this outperformance in female part-time employment, when you also see falling male participation, which hints to us that there are men who would rather leave the workforce than take a part-time employment,” said Mr Smirk.
“The fact they are able to leave the workforce so easily suggests we may be on the cusp of another wave of retiring male baby boomers that are choosing to leave the labour force than take a part-time position, possibly [to a] different sector to where they have previously worked.”
Are you currently employed? Did you retire early? Why? Do you think there are enough opportunities for part-time employment at your age?