Male baby boomers would rather retire early than work part time

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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?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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124 Comments

Total Comments: 124
  1. 0
    0

    Pretty well have to agree with that.
    The whole home/work relationship has been turned on its head over the last few decades with employees being expected to be on call 24/7/365 and often abused in their chosen professions. And you wonder why those who can get out early do. A colleague of mine once said ‘I don’t live to work. I work to live.’
    The problem with economies like Australia and the US is business in most cases believe employees are their machines to be treated as they see fit. Why would anyone suffer such treatment for any longer than they had to. I left and not sure if my skills were ever replaceable. Their loss, my gain.
    Thanks Leon. Good one.

    • 0
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      Yup – told yez before – the dope that terminated my contract that was costing the company $2k a week found it cost initially $5k a week to get others to do it who had no idea, and that rose to nearly $10k a week…

      Brilliant management decision right there…. that company got rid of that guy shortly thereafter after he’d turned a $2m profit into a similar loss in four years – and someone else gave him a job as a manager… Jesus God!!

      I’ve got a big sliding door to fit in the garage today.. see yez….

    • 0
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      And the person who pushed you out and stuffed up the company got a big payrise?

    • 0
      0

      I agree Bob although my remuneration was not as spectacular. There was a group of us who worked out that amongst us was over 300 years of experience and while none of us was so essential that we couldn’t be replaced, the experience couldn’t be replaced. We knew how to handle a range of problems and what shortcuts to take but those who replaced us were sometimes floundering.

      I had a ‘phone call from a boss a couple of weeks after I was made redundant asking about a problem and I told him that it was easy to sort out. He asked me to pop in for a few hours to discuss it and I readily agreed but pointed out that I no longer worked there so I would need to be classed as a consultant. I told him to have a large amount of cash in an envelope for 4 hours and if it was to go past the 4 hours to arrange another envelope. He said he’d get back to me and that was the last time we spoke.

    • 0
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      Good call OM. Amazing how when shafted the culprits then expect free work to teach the new person the job and fix problems. Society never ceases to amaze me in its audacity, greed and ignorance. Plenty of all on this website from some of our respondents.

    • 0
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      I guess he did… that guy couldn’t handle a simple clerical function and had never once gone out on the actual job to see how it worked and how the people worked. He also had that zero sense of humour insanity that meant that any time someone jested in front of him, they’d done something wrong, and the hatred poured out of him. I was his short, fat man’s way of holding power where none was needed – DUH.

      He’d been an ex-corporal in the RAAF – mainly guarding gates… and I can readily see why the RAAF would dispense with him before someone killed him…. accidentally of course.

    • 0
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      Well done, OM. Hope they learned their lesson., thought I’ll bet they didn’t – the criteria for getting a job as a manager – sorry – team leader – is to have stuffed up somewhere else first.

  2. 0
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    That’s positive news
    Means more and more Aussies are becoming financially well off to be able to retire early
    Economic growth during the Howard /Costello and more recently the Abbot /Turnbull eras have made a lot of people financially independent with pro growth policies like paying off all labor debt and cutting taxes

    • 0
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      Dishonest propaganda for the government troll. As normal.

    • 0
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      Raphael is likely an AI web troll or someone very rich being paid to interfere with normal pensioner discussions. Get off this site.

    • 0
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      I agree it is positive news and means that they have more than enough to retire on if they are not prepared to do part time work to supplement their income.

    • 0
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      My pension dropped $200 a week thanks to the LNP changes to the Pensioner Assets Test. Will never vote LNP or Greens in any election be it Federal, State or Local.
      The changes to the Old Age Pension are stolen entitlements to fund company tax cuts.

    • 0
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      Retired in 2015 at 62 as self funded.
      I do not give government of the day credit for this happy place. It was the global industry and markets my performance and luck that got me there. The government presided over a healthy economy they did not create it.

  3. 0
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    There are no real jobs…especially for older workers…older Australians are too tired and sick to work at jobs that don’t pay proper wages and provide decent work conditions. Our politicians won’t get out of bed for less than $1000.00 a day.

    • 0
      0

      That’s prosperity for you – prosperity for the very few and struggle street for the majority.

    • 0
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      Sick and tired of all the downsizing and having to do far far more with less. Carrying the load of another worker that became redundant for not much of a salary increase.

      I actually have a greater net income now than when I was working. Some of it lazy and some of it active investment. You need time for that and time to enjoy the rewards.

      There are plenty of jobs though but too many poor managers and stringent rules that just don’t make work in a workplace much fun anymore.

      I imagine they are losing heaps of the millennial as well. Flexible isn’t three shifts of 4 hours to avoid entitlements nor rigid hours 9 to 5 with no phones allowed. The very best will go free lancing now and that will be a good thing.

      Like OM said above. You need me you pay me my contract fees.

      Bosses deserve the staff they end up with. The smart ones will have successful businesses with happy busy workers.

  4. 0
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    Are they leaving the work force or are they being shunted out? With the possible exception of senior management, middle and lower managers are replaced with bright young things who are more compliant to carry out some of the draconian tasks which older more experienced people would rail against. As they are pushed down the ladder into part time menial duties they conclude WTF and take a parachute t get out of Dodge. Their chances at reemployment are zilch so they retire as they often have sufficient super to survive until the OAP kicks in.
    Female participation has increased because of the casualisation and part time growth in the work force which women don’t seem to mind, whereas older males don’t view that gig economy style of work as worth while – it certainly pays peanuts! This is also why youth employment has improved as more part time work has been created which the young folks will grab with both hands. The ABS figures show less hours worked nationally but more jobs. Neoliberalisation hard at work – excuse the pun!

    • 0
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      I guess it might be a mix. Certainly in my profession employees bailed out. Many took menial jobs to supplement their income. Others like myself had been making provisions for 40 years so managed to live ok without having to be abused again.
      Yeah….
      eoliberalism at work. Give ’em low paid part time work and keep ’em in poverty. Then bring in cheap third world labour to starve ’em so that they will be happy with crumbs. All whilst the top of society rewards itself, has mechanisms to lower taxable income and then cries for tax cuts it has no need of because of greed on steroids.
      So who you gonna vote for?????

    • 0
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      There is a degree of that I am sure. Make the job increasing untenable for the seniors until they leave. Then replace them with juniors on minimum pay scales and the human resource budget looks really good.
      The initial output may not be so good and experience may be limited but juniors get smart very quickly…. and then they get replaced.

    • 0
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      I might suggest that some of the really bad service is due to this. How many times do you get a kid on the phone who knows zip about anything, including what they are employed to do.

    • 0
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      This is a very city centric phenomena, in my opinion/observation. It is interesting, and quite startling, that in the travelling I have been doing over the past few years, in remote areas, such as the Kimberleys and Kakadu, the number of back packers working in hospitality, because they cant get Aussies for jobs going there. I am also gob smacked that in a regional centre such as Mildura, with which I am very familiar, go to Centrelink on any given day – and there are dozens of young able bodied people queuing for benefits; but come harvest time, again it is the back packers that the crop growers have to rely on, to bring in their harvest. Now I know Mick will blame this on the existing government (everything from AIDS to pregnancy is Turnbull’s fault – or maybe Barnaby Joyce), but this is a phenomena I have noticed for more than 20 years. I am on the south coast of NSW at the moment – the beaches are abounding with fit young blokes riding magnificent waves, and again there is a building boom going on here – and they cant get labour! Obviously Turnbull’s fault!

    • 0
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      Well – they did say that increasing technology and efficiencies would give us more leisure time – now they complain about it when people accept that leisure time.

      Mind you – for every one of those surfers there is someone under the bridge tonight. When I lived way down that way, the school boys would come to the beach after school for a surf.

    • 0
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      I will say that when I had a computer crash and couldn’t get into it at all… the young guy on the other end of the phone was magnificent and fixed it all and backed everything up, including my books, in about four hours… for free.

      The only thing was my time zone was set to Ireland, I think it was… same time zone anyway. He reinstalled my software complete, from Windows over there, and backed everything up into files saved for me.

      He was courteous too – must be Irish…

    • 0
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      I worked for most of my life in the house building industry. Dad as a builder and then my hubby while he lived. They worked hard but if the surf was up the tools went down and off they all went surfing. It’s called flexibility and if more bosses had it life would be better for everyone.

      A three week gig picking fruit does not a career make. Now if they offered farm management apprenticeships or someone could place farm workers with needed work quickly like uber or air b&b you might just get professional pickers again.

      While ever the hundreds of thousands of holiday visa workers will pick for accommodation and food maybe it isn’t worth the effort for home grown kids.

    • 0
      0

      Good points Rae, I have heard that the wages they pay backpackers is much lower, and they are happy to take anything to extend their visas. Also accommodation is a problem in many remote areas. Backpackers have chosen to have ‘an experience’ and be away from their loved ones, but a lot of unemployed people are looking for permanent jobs not seasonal. If the Government wanted Australians to pick fruit then there should be some incentive to take on casual work like being able to earn more before effecting your payments or having to wait for so long to get back on Newstart after taking on casual work.

    • 0
      0

      Yes music veg. The cost of everything is higher in places like Kakadu and Kimberley. Just a flight from Perth to Broome is very expensive and in some cases locals are subsidised to fly to Perth. Fuel prices are very high and distances far and you need a proper 4WD not just a pretend SUV. Food prices are around 30% higher.

      The holiday trippers chalking up experiences and the 88 days they have to work rural for visa requirements will work for pretty basic accommodation and food as they have their travel money to last them.

      Our own kids can’t manage it as they just can’t go work for bed and board. How would they ever get home again?

  5. 0
    0

    Plenty of jobs out there with the booming economy
    Tradies and professionals as well as administrative and manual jobs aplenty
    Unemployment at record lows
    Those choosing to leave work early have taken advantage of the healthy investment climate and superannuation provisions set up mostly by the LNP over decades
    The new personal and company tax cuts will fuel further rises in income and wealth

  6. 0
    0

    When I told management I wanted to retire they offered me 3 days a week instead of 5. I know pretty well that the outcome would have been – doing all the chores in 3 days because they would not have employed another bloke for the remaining 2 days.

  7. 0
    0

    I work free lance part time, where I can determine when I work. Suits me perfectly. I can recommend free lance over part time, as it puts you in control rather than the boss.

    • 0
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      So true. Part time can actually be worse than full time. You get no benefits and because there are “gaps” in the day there is an expectation you will happily fill that time working gratis for the company. (or there is an implied “you won’t be on the call list tomorrow”)
      Watch those Air Tasker jobs though. My goodness where are the unions on that little number!

    • 0
      0

      Disagree Rosret. Part time does not have the bells and whistles. Employers claim they compensate part time employees for forgone Long Service Leave and a whole pile of other benefits but if you worked it back to an hourly rate I’m sure part time workers would be horrified.

    • 0
      0

      Yes Franky and it is a great way to work for yourself. Hope there is more and more of it.

      It also allows the worker to have some power in the exchange of labour for payment.

  8. 0
    0

    1. Men have more money in super than women.
    2. When a man retires a woman starts work – better to go to work each day
    3. Women live longer and they need to prepare for a longer retirement period.
    4. Women often have jobs that are more suitable to part time work where men are neither permitted or find it suitable to go into part time work. – You would have to look at the income and type of jobs of both sexes before coming to a conclusion.
    5. More men than women maybe in the sort of jobs where they hit the wall mentally or physically and just one day more is one day too many.

    • 0
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      They do Rosret because men do not normally take time off for child rearing.
      What is never mentioned is that a couple have to split their super if they divorce and the surviving partner gets the deceased spouse’s super.
      Agree with point 5 although child rearing can be pretty arduous as well if done properly.

    • 0
      0

      MICK super is split at the time of divorce and is usual swapped for the wife remaining in the home to raise the children. So unless one divorces in later years it has little benefit. I shall also add – in divorce no one wins and unless either partner remarries it is a huge burden for both couples and they are not likely to be your early retirees.

    • 0
      0

      I might have thought the wife remaining in the home was worth at least half of the weekly rent for such a home. And the man?
      I grew up with title to the home being transferred to the (ex) wife. That was understandable but completely unfair.
      The couple next door to us split. The wife married a man who already owned a house so they ended up with 2 homes. The husband lived in a caravan at the back of his parent’s home. Tell me about super.

    • 0
      0

      Mick, for once we are on the same page on an issue – divorce and settlements. I came out of exactly that situation you described – the ex got the house – moved on quickly and remarried, to a bloke with plenty of assets. I had no problem with that except that my kids have been severely disadvantaged, as their mother sought fit to blow all the assets from marriage one, and the kids will see nothing (rightly) from the assets of hubby Mk II. What is the solution? Thousands of blokes lose out big time because of the way the Family Court system works in this country. It obviously is right to ensure that kids in such circumstances are protected with a roof over their head, but that protection needs to be enshrined in some way, for the longer term.

    • 0
      0

      I totally agree with you on this Big Al. Horrendous things happen to children in these disastrous remarriages if either or both of the couple are selfish and thoughtless or greedy.

      It also seems unfair that a man gets less than half of everything they have achieved together.

      Too many men are emotionally destroyed when the marriage breaks down and get taken for far too much by the legal system in my opinion.

    • 0
      0

      Rae, Most separations and divorces are instigated by women, yet they always come out on top in any settlement. Courts should take into account not only the reasons but who decided to leave the arrangement, as few distanglements are mutual. Yes the legal system favours women regardless of the circumstances.

    • 0
      0

      And the couple shares whatever super they have … this is all a propaganda piece… and the reasons women earn less and retire with less super have been gone over thousands of times and shown that the presentation is false.

  9. 0
    0

    Well there are a lot of factors in this matter. Firstly males are discriminated against. Particularly older white males. They established their job based with superannuation. Employers now prefer to have employees on a casual basis . Concessions such as quotas and initiatives for females are rife. You get more money and your wife gets most of it upon divorce.

    I am one of ’em. @ 72. I am sick of being an identity of ‘white male’ which is subject of contempt in our ‘identity’ politics and culture. Sick of the identity politics. Proud to be who I am.

    Furthermore unemployment figures like many others are distorted to sell other identities within our culture. From my retirement at 55 I will pay tax until I die. No pension or concessions. I worked hard and now my culture turns on my ‘white male’ identity. Primarily in favour of females. I pay my own way.

    But the bottom line is see WHY more males are unemployed. Don’t brag about it on behalf of women. Our only concern in our culture is for women. Males (white) from youths to those in retirement are treated with contempt.

    Don’t ever forget that it is those white males at retirement age that got this Country as far as it has. They are now subject to endorsed abuse as recognition of their input.

    The character integrity of this Country has been changed and is abandoned. I have principles but they are nt culturally applied these days.

    • 0
      0

      Gillham being “White male” makes you the pinnacle of the food chain.
      What – you aren’t? hehe Must be you forgot – it’s white, 40ish, good looking male. Then there is sliding scale.

    • 0
      0

      Men seem to be targets for disenfranchised women’s groups gillham. The ‘Me Too’ witch hunt was a symptom of this and the weeding out of bad men moved to open season.
      Women also want 50% of top jobs and do not want to hear about why this is not right. They want it come hell or high water.
      Never a mention about the Family Courts of old where women were awarded the family home and men lived in caravans after that. An inconvenient (historical) fact.
      The war of the roses goes on and you will just have to wear the ongoing attempts to chuck you out of a job and put a woman in your place. Not going to end any time soon. Especially with a whole generation of liberated genY female journos strutting their feel good stuff.

    • 0
      0

      More women in the workforce, feminism, men wanting to get out of the workforce ASAP. There’s a cause-and-effect correlation.

    • 0
      0

      Rosret. ‘pinnacle of the food chain’. What does that mean. That I provide for everyone until the day I die, but cop nothing but cultural abuse until the day I die, while on a daily basis there are identity articles, in some form of sport, to ridicule men. That is the non recognised DV of men. Public DV that is.

      You are the lack of face to face product of the present day.

      So Rosret, thanks for the personal abuse and confirming my input.

    • 0
      0

      I wasn’t abusing you gillham. I am stating the way society pigeon holes categories. When I was a kid the child wearing the glasses was the odd one out. The Protestant/Catholic war was in full swing.

      These days there is a different scale of who we can pick on. There are people who want to pull people down and others who want to make sure others remain down the ladder. It hasn’t changed – its just the order that has change a little.

      We all voted for the LGBT community. I was quite happy for them to have equal rights but I am now at the point where Netflix is almost unwatchable for me. I don’t want to watch yet another gay show. Its got to the point where we have lost the concept of the “normal” heterosexual family. I am not supposed to find homosexual behaviour enjoyable. Why is being thrust down my viewing choices in every movie? I do get what you are saying gillham.

    • 0
      0

      I didn’t vote for the LGBT thing because they already had all rights pertaining to citizens… there is not and never has been a right to unconstrained marriage – only to not be compelled to marry a person not of your choice.

      The (deliberate) confusion came about because of the simple statement:- Right to marry the person of your choice.

      That did not mean just because you wanted to…. I didn’t marry the LOML because she went off the deep end, went the rat…. bet she regrets it now, though.

      The right to marry the person of your choice means not not be compelled to marry a person NOT of your choice.

    • 0
      0

      “We all voted for ….” eh Rosret? To whom should those of us – whose votes were then misrepresented – lodge objection/complaint ?

  10. 0
    0

    I hate to say it but the reason couple of the reasons are that business prefer women rather than men because they can pay them lower wages and they are less likely to stand up to the bosses. The other reason (my reason ) for early retirement was because as an older person management still expect you to do the same job load as a younger person. because I complained about it to the boss, they decided I should move to part time but I told them to shove it and retired.

    • 0
      0

      Hey IMAC although the women are ‘there’ they do not work the same hours or contribute the same hours.

      Women’s hourly rate is therefore higher for doing, well, less.

    • 0
      0

      Hey IMAC although the women are ‘there’ they do not work the same hours or contribute the same hours.

      Women’s hourly rate is therefore higher for doing, well, less.

    • 0
      0

      gillham I don’t know where you get your information from but I can assure you, 35 years into my working career I do indeed put in the same hours as any male employed here, in fact we all do five days and he does 4 because he does not want to work full time at 55! So in what way do women not contribute the same hours? 9 to 5 is 9 to 5 in anyone’s language (add in whatever hours you want). Would you argue that a male nurse works harder than a female nurse, doctor or specialists? It is well documented that a woman’s wage is at 65% of the male wage, therefore we work harder and get less rewards, especially in the superannuation area. so I really think you need to educate yourself more.

      I for one am not sorry that older, bigoted men with out of date views are retiring, off ya go sail away into the sunset. Now for those of you lovely older men who appreciate their work colleagues and are not bitter and don’t have an axe to grind, well done to you! To those of you men who have worked really hard and believe you have everything you need and want to experience life good on you, you deserve it!

    • 0
      0

      – and iMac that is just what they wanted you to do. Then the young worker will be paid less and the manager is happy.

    • 0
      0

      gillham -seriously? Women work extraordinarily hard. I wondered where you used to work.

    • 0
      0

      On average women work 32.5 hours a week and men41.5 – close to…. not so strangely that equates precisely to the ‘wage gap percentage’….. but never let facts get in the way of a good argument.

      We all know some women put in the five day week etc…. but they generally receive the same income for doing so – at least they receive the minimum for the job since it is illegal to pay less – beyond that you negotiate or just take it.

      Julia Roberts gets more per movie than I do…. just saying….. I write books – my royalties are tiny compared to Patricia Cornwell.

    • 0
      0

      Affirmative action has guaranteed that women in the public service and teaching are now earning more than men…. now tell me they work harder again….

      I know you’re kidding, Ros – to make a point that what is said in public is not always the truth behind closed doors.

      Behind every great man stands a great women – with a knife in her hand these days.

    • 0
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      Again – I’m waiting for the fullness of time to show us precisely what Affirmative Action (I will not lower myself to call it Equal Employment Opportunity since it is no such thing) does to the Superannuation Stakes, given that women now hold all the cushy government jobs nd cop fast track to any sweet job, with the preferential super and extravagant salaries due to ‘classes’ of clerk n’ jerk etc… most of them overpaid for being dodos.

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