This is why boomers need to reinvent our workplaces 24



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A new report says we baby boomers have unrealistic expectations of working past retirement age. Do they know who they are talking about? Are we or are we not the generation that redefines things? And generally to our own benefit?

Sure, there are some quite significant barriers to making it possible for older workers to thrive in the workplace but remember, once upon a time, women barely worked beyond the home. We, as the generation that would not take “no” for an answer, changed that.

So let us work out what needs to be done, roll up our sleeves and get to work.

The report, by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement (CSR) in America, questioned 1000 non-retirees and just over 2000 retirees about work and their plans for the future. They found that 60 per cent planned to embark on some kind of paid work “after retirement”.

While half said they were willing to accept a small pay cut in return for flexibility, the buck stopped there. Older workers are not willing to be paid less simply because they are older, thank you very much.

Unfortunately, this does not match up to reality with more than half of the working population of the respondents saying they were paid significantly less post-retirement age.

Similarly, nearly all (94 per cent)  of non-retirees who plan to work in retirement would like some type of special work arrangement, such as flex-time (56 per cent), telecommuting (20 per cent), compressed work schedule (17 per cent) or job-sharing (14 per cent). But only about one-third of currently employed retirees report having such an arrangement.

Joe Hockey says we will all have to work until at least 70, however little has been said about how this is going to happen. One issue that needs to be addresses, as discussed in this article in The New Daily, is the matter of workers’ insurance. Most state-based workers’ compensation schemes simply do not cover older workers, which understandably scares off employers.

Another issue is training. I think we can agree that most workplaces are changing rapidly due to technology and automation. Just because we’re old doesn’t mean we can’t learn new tricks, right? Dedicated, appropriate skills training programs are required to bring us up to speed in some areas.

And then there’s the small manner of discrimination. Michael O’Neill, chief executive of National Seniors Australia, says, “Many job applicants are being judged by their birth certificates.”

Does that sound familiar to you?

The government has launched a National Inquiry examining the practices, attitudes and laws that deny or diminish equal participation in employment of older Australians, which you can find out more about here.

In the meantime, it’s up to you to be thinking ahead and showing employers what needs to be done.

A National Seniors’ report found most older Australian workers were waiting until “crisis points”, such as job loss or health problems, to update their skills. It also found that four out of five workers aged 50 or older had either never, or “not recently”, spent time planning their careers.

Mr O’Neill said it was still important to know how to map out a new career path or update your skills in case retirement plans went awry.

And while we could sit around waiting for the government and workplaces to catch up with older workers’ needs, the other option is to get involved and to tell workplaces what you need. As this expert explains, flexible arrangements and hours are some of the adjustments older workers need to continue contributing.

Are you ready to show the workforce how it needs to be done? What are the barriers you’ve come up against while trying to stay in the workforce?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Hockey won’t work till he is 70, he will retire with a nice fat taxpayer funded pension, but he may need to work a bit longer since he has to pay all money to his soliciters over that court case he never really won 🙂

    2 REPLY
    • He actually made a modest profit on that court case. He won 800 grand and had to pay 500 grand in legals. Not too shabby considering the lawyers did all the work.

    • …he couldn’t lose. It was either them, or us paying his legal bill through some tax-payer funded rort.

  2. I am hoping that they take this work till 70 to the next election because I can’t see many younger people voting to work till 70 years old. When your young, 70 years old seems centuries away, to us is just the next step in the aging process but one none us expected to have to work till.

    1 REPLY
  3. I am over 69 and just got another job. I like what I do, I think I have something worthwhile to offer, and I like to have wages rather than pension

  4. most people who have worked with their hands are physically stuffed by the age of sixty politicians wouldnt know the meaning of hard yakka

  5. Yeah . . Good luck with that. The harsh facts are that it’s just too hard for employers to work around the added needs of older workers so they make them redundant before the time comes when the long serving employee is gonna need that operation or whatever. Then of course the ageing worker needs to find another job and is competing with able-bodied 20 and 30-somethings for every job in the market. Let’s face it: There are only so many dogs that need washing and if you’re not handy with the tools you’re screwed as far as starting your own business goes. Even if you do manage to get something going you face a 50% failure rate in the first 12 months.

  6. If you’re been an office worker or in sales or a teacher or any job that doesn’t require hard manual work, there’s a good chance you can keep going until you’re 70. If you’ve done hard physical work you’re flat out making it to 60. I’m from a transport and warehousing background prior to becoming a full-time musician and I broke down at just 43! A fall from my truck at age 34 and far too much repetitive heavy lifting was the cause. We’d see plenty of old truck drivers nearing age 60 who looked closer to 70 from the rigors of the job. My heart went out to those men and I’d always help them in any way I could, lifting their tarps onto the truck for them and just doing what I could to help them keep going. This was 20 years ago. My boss had an affectionate nickname for the old-timers in the transport industry . . FOT , Fucked old truckie. We’d see at least a couple of FOTs every day back then. They’d take up to 15 seconds to climb out of the truck cabin and you could tell their backs were rooted. Imagine having to put up with that pain and reduced mobility until age 70. It’s not only inhumane it’s inhuman!

  7. I worked full time until I was 72. There were no concessions made for my “advanced” years and, as a teacher in a small school, I expected none. I was lucky to be healthy and to enjoy my job. I also LOVE retirement!!!

  8. I was a full-time permanent employee of a government organisation. I was over 60 and asked if I could work a 9-day fortnight and was rejected. So the government do not look after their staff. At my stage in life now, even though I still have not lost my typing skills and are fairly up to date with technology, if I were to apply for a job, I will lay 10 to 1 on I would not get it. Someone much younger would get it.

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