Archive for August, 2010
It is something we have covered before in our SageCo musings, but this train of thought was reinforced by several speakers during last week’s Silver Century conference, a forum convened by COTA NSW and the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG).
Pino Migliorino, Chair of The NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing spoke passionately about the need to consider ‘ageing sub-groups’ in relation to ‘who gets employed and who stays employed’. Pino highlighted the distinct challenges and needs of three categories of mature worker to illustrate diversity within diversity;
- those from a non English speaking background
- Indigenous Australians
- those living in regional and rural areas
This topic was further embellished by The Hon.Barry Jones AO in his key note address, encouraging us to create a fresh map of life - not confusing the third age with the fourth, one of dependence.
The third agers have no intention of ‘winding down’ – they are more interested in ‘revving up’!
It all forms part of rethinking traditional assumptions. In the words of AAG President, Professor Julie Byles;
it is demographic fitness – not age – that counts
The weekend Financial Review’s 31 July 1 August excellent article by Deirdre Macken provides an up to date snapshot of how our workforce is changing. You need to subscribe to get the full article, but in the meantime, here are seven stats to have up your sleeve:
- In the past three years, almost 100 000 extra older workers have entered the workforce annually
- Ten years ago only a third of people aged 60 – 64 were working; now more than half of the 60 – 64 population are working
- Three years ago, one in seven workers were older than 55; now it’s one in six.
- 40 percent of all the new workers in the past three years are 55 or older
- Since June 2007 the only age groups that convincingly increased their participation in the workforce were those over 55
- The number of workers aged 65 plus jumped 30 %compared with the population increase in that age group of 8.5 %
- The biggest increase in workers across the country is among women older than 65
As Barbara Pocock says:
Compared with 20 years ago, there is a lot more identity-making and meaning-making that has been attached to work. Even people’s friendships are more likely to be based at work than in previous generations.”
What’s all this mean? An ageing workforce means that organisations need to re-think the way we work and what a career life cycle is. The mantra we often hear: “Happy to work longer, but not the way I’m working now.” Let’s make our work association enjoyable, social, meaningful and supportive of other facets of our lives. Now that’s something no generation will argue with.