More of us are working for longer, but why? 61

Let's Talk


View Profile

New OECD data shows over 60’s are working or longer than ever. Workforce participation among over 65s has doubled since 2000 meaning more than one in ten of us is still hard at work.

Interestingly, the number of women aged 65 and over who are still working has quadrupled in that time span – so why is it that women are working longer, even longer than men?

Experts are quick to point out that improvements in health and education are a significant factor, but of course finances play a significant role.

Sydney University economics professor Garry Barrett says an unstable economy over the past 20 years and the shift towards the superannuation system means more people are staying in the workforce.

“A natural response is for families to maintain a stronger attachment to the labour market,” he told Fairfax.

But it’s not all paycheques and super payments, the data has also shown that over 60s are increasingly unemployed, as the rate of people looking for work but unable to find it in this age group has increased to 2.2 per cent, up from 1.5 per cent last year.

Another interesting trend is that the longer women work, the longer men will, too. A study conducted by Professor Barrett showed that men were less likely to retire if their wife was still working.

“There’s been a spillover effect on to their partners,” he says. “Husbands do not like to retire first.”

Are you working still? Why or why not? Do you want to be working? Or do you feel you’ve done your time and it’s your turn to kick back and enjoy life? 

Starts at 60 Writers

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

  1. I think women are working longer because more and more marriages split up and the women find they are left with very little. It happened to me and a lot of other women I know. I haven’t been able to get work at all for the past year, because apparently at my time of life, I wouldn’t be able to learn new things. However when I was working, the majority of people at my place of employment were women who had been divorced later in life and left with huge debt. Before anyone jumps down my throat, this is a fact and I am only going on my experiences

    6 REPLY
    • Fran I know a lady whose husband left her after 47 years of marriage for a woman 20 years younger. Very sad.

    • Fran don’t worry about these people who jump down your throat, honestly, they do it to anyone who disagrees with their warped sense of superior selves.

    • I’m with you there Fran. Women go backwards financially after a long term marriage breakup ….. been there ! It’s also hard when at 58, after long term employment, you’re made ‘redundant’ due to new management. I would have continued working till 65, unfortunately that didn’t happen !

    • i am in the same position as a lot of other women…marriage breakup…almost no superannuation. Husband left country leaving debts, so I have to work. I am lucky that I have a job at 66 or I would be homeless.

      1 REPLY
      • I think many women have very little super to fall back on so they keep working as long as they can through necessity..

  2. Still working full time, I just don’t feel like I’m old enough to retire yet, 80% of the time I enjoy working, being around people of all ages, keeping myself busy, great social life, & deffinately the financial side of working & knowing it will make retirnment that bit more comfortable, so few more yrs to go hopefully.

    1 REPLY
    • I’m 64 and run my own small business and would like to continue indefinitely because I enjoy it but my husband is 72 and has just gone back to work 2 days a week because he’s sick of waiting for me to retire. He’s taken a couple of trips alone. Not sure it’s a good idea but would really miss my business if I retired. I don’t feel “tired” so not keen to retire. It’s a conundrum.

  3. 67 in October giving up work at Christmas time, fed up with paying husbands bills, he can do it from then on

  4. True Fran – we moved and when I thought of working again part time at least the jobs where not there except as a check out chick or Bunnings – dont get me wrong those companies employ older workers but what if a person really wants something else and live outside a city, then its highly likely the jobs are not available. So we bought a business and employ over 40’s ladies only – for a few reasons. I find they are hard workers glad to get a job and co perate work as a team.

    2 REPLY
    • And it does keep the mind active plus keeping up with a few younger employees is a challenge but it is an incentive to try. The social interaction is good as well. Its not always easy being a boss though….but I am fortunate to have a good bunch of employees at long last so we all have laughs every day.

  5. I retired at 63, I am fortunate to have invested in super as well as building a couple of houses as an owner builder, the sale of the last house paid off our mortgage with nothing to spare but left us mortgage free. I now face the bill from the ATO for capital gains and that was one of the drivers to retire, the other was my health as I was increasingly becoming less interested in my work and anxiety was taking it’s toll. Working longer would have been of great benefit financially but one needs to make a decision on what is important in life.

    1 REPLY
    • Your right Fred ,you have to let it go some time ,I did and find I am doing,more now and can go out,for a walk and meet people.

  6. I’m still working part time only 2 days aweek I’m past retirement age planning at this stage to go till April or June 2017 if I stay as well and healthy as I am now

  7. My husband retired for a year at 65 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After a year he found he was bored and did not want to sit and think about his health problems. So we took our super out of the stock market and invested in a business. So he is 67 now and still working. He intends to work until he can no longer work. If that is 80 then so be it. He is much happier and fulfilled working. I think everyone is different and each must find their own way. But I do feel that in the future people will have to work longer because we are living longer. A lot of people could and will live for 25-30 years past 65. That is a long time.

    1 REPLY
    • So true and I would love to do this if I Sam healthy and financial enough but sadly a lot of people can’t because they are not in the position to do so.

  8. I’m 72 and work 3 days a week in the job that I’ve had as a full time one for the past 30 years. I’m still here because I like working. I enjoy the social interaction and it gets me out of the house. Of course the extra money is nice, although 3 days a week doesn’t pay a fortune and I’m still eligible for a part pension. I’ll keep going like this for as long as I’m able or they’re prepared to employ me.

    1 REPLY
  9. I was forced to retire at the age of 62 due to health problems, however I would have love to continue working as I enjoyed the job I had which was working with kids with disabilities which I started working with after My husband and I divorced in 1998 which really didn’t allow you time to accumulate enough Superfund’s to set you up for retirement, I now know this is a common problem for women which is why they choose to continue to work.

    6 REPLY
    • Trish I have seen articles that say that the new poverty stricken are women in their 60’s. I have been a stay at home mum for 27 years. Now kids gone and parents passed and I would like to get back into the work force. But by the sounds of some of these comments I will have trouble. Am volunteering at the moment to get myself back into the world. Live in hope I guess.

    • Debbie, there are companies around that actually prefer to employ older people, keep trying that’s all you can do.

    • True Trish. My super is not enough to keep me for a year. I am going to use it to go on a couple of trips. Time for me.

    • True Trish. My super is not enough to keep me for a year. I am going to use it to go on a couple of trips. Time for me.

  10. Debbie mine left after 22 years for auch older woman and never worked again so they came after me for the mortgage etc. I lost everything. When I moved I didn’t get the job promised to me and I was really told I couldn’t learn new things at my age. Have applied for heaps and now have been sick for months.Cheryl. If I lived near you, I’d work for you. Oh well that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    1 REPLY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *