Powering on: mature workers stay on longer

Keeping active

By Sheradyn Holderhead    

Mature workers are choosing to stay in the workplace beyond the retirement age because they enjoy their work and want to keep active.

Don’t Overlook Mature Expertise executive director Greg Goudie says there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that people aged more than 65 years are staying in the workplace.

"It’s a combination of things," he says.

"Some people might have retired but found it dull and boring and need something to do. We’re also seeing a lot of women returning to the workforce.

"Obviously with the GFC (global financial crisis), people are recognising they don’t have enough to live on.

"That’s probably about one-third of people."

Mr Goudie says almost 2000 mature-aged people are registered with DOME and about half of those are aged more than 55 years.

"Of that, there’d be about 200 people over 65 with us looking for work," he says.

South Australia is recognised as having an ageing workforce.

Mr Goudie says the State Government is pushing businesses to keep mature workers on their books.

"We need to work on strategies to keep people in the workforce," he says.

"That includes making the workplace more flexible, with flexible work hours, and there needs to be more training. Often people nearing retirement age actually want to stay on but because they feel their employer doesn’t care, they stop caring."

Mr Goudie says there can be benefits beyond the financial ones of staying in the workforce longer. "All the anecdotal evidence says if you stay in the workforce, you stay more active in life, live longer," he says.

Southern Cross Care risk services manager Glyn Williams only recently has considered retirement, despite having reached the retirement age of 65 years nine years ago.

He is older than some of the residents who live in accommodation provided by Southern Cross Care.

The full-time workload, in which he is responsible for all risk management within the organisation and for providing and maintaining a safe work environment

for the organisation’s 1320 employees, is so enjoyable he intends to keep working as long as he can.

"Obviously, once you get to my age you have to start thinking about these things but at the moment I’m still enjoying my work and getting a lot of satisfaction out of it," he says.


  • More than 140,000 working Australians are aged over 65.
  • There are more than three times as many male workers than female workers.
  • There are 109,600 men aged over 65 compared to 31,600 women.
  • More than two-thirds, or 90,000 workers, are aged between 65 and 69.

Article from The Advertiser, June, 2010. Source: ABS Australian Labour Market Statistics.

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