In light of the 2014 Federal Budget’s plan to re-define the Australian pension age to 70, many are concerned about the prospect of working for longer than they had anticipated.
However, despite these concerns, there is significant value older Australians can offer the workplace that is presently being overlooked. Given their long-standing experience in various industries and life experience, older Australians should be respected as wise additions to impart knowledge and mentoring for younger employees.
Recent discussion around retiring later presents us with an opportunity to assess the benefits of employment. Beyond financial reasons, a job enables increased well being through meaning and purpose, in addition to social connection and a sense of community.
Given an increased life expectancy, the financial cost to the community and the individual to fund extended retirement is reason enough to support the retraining of older generations and support them in finding meaningful and appropriate employment.
Recent estimates by Deloitte for the Australian Human Rights Commission show that a 5 per cent increase in employment by people over 55 would mean $48 billion more per year for the national income.
At present, barriers to workforce entry for older generations include discrimination of their age, older appearance, a belief that they cannot re-train and are perceived as being ridged and backward in their thinking.
We at Ducere offer opportunities for mature aged students to upskill in areas such as business, management and leadership. By providing the flexibility to retrain while in work or at home, we believe we give older generations the confidence to upskill and build on their existing skills to re-enter the workforce.
Tapping in to a network of a global leadership faculty, Ducere offers online education and partnerships with Holmesglen Institute and Canberra University, from entrepreneurs and business leaders all over the world.
In support of retraining, the Australian government has put forward a $10,000 incentive to businesses to hire over-50s. However, we at Ducere believe there requires a community and corporate perception shift for how older generations are treated in the workforce for them to feel fully comfortable offering their invaluable skills and experience.