Lately, the issue of keeping older people in the workforce has been finding its way into the media and government policy discussions.

If he can go to work every year at his age, why can't all of us?

And I have started to hear people asking why it has “suddenly” become so important to ensure that people can stay gainfully employed as they age.

The tragic reality in Australia today is that many people living on the Age Pension would prefer – either out of need or personal choice - to be gainfully employed.

In Australia today, approximately 80 percent of people aged 65 and older are reliant to some degree on the Age Pension. In fact, in 2007, 55 percent of over 65s were wholly dependent on it, and women made up 58 percent of that group.

As a society, we are getting older all the time. Short of disaster of an apocalyptic scale, nothing will stop or slow this trend. Women born today are likely to live until 95. Over the next 40 years, the number of people in Australia aged between 65 and 84 will more than double, while those 86 and above will quadruple.

While almost everyone needs to work until they are eligible for the Age Pension (which, by 2023, will be 67), the reality is that many of us will actually need to stay in work beyond that point.

And herein lies an anomaly. The Commonwealth Age Pension was introduced in 1909 at a time when life expectancy was 59 for women and 55 for men. Women were eligible for the Pension at age 60 and men at 65. Obviously, with life expectancy in the 50s, most people didn’t live long enough to receive it.

But today, by 1909 standards, many of us are living an additional lifetime on top of that.

Today, if we retire at the ‘traditional’ age of 60-65, many of us will have to find the money to fund up to 30 years of retirement.

We are also living in better health than ever before. And if Professor Ian Hickie from the University of Sydney is correct, older brains are healthy… and work keeps them that way.

Which leads us to a great conundrum. If people need to fund living this extra lifetime, and stay healthy, the majority of us will have to work. The trouble is, despite the fact that we are continually being told about the national skills shortage, despite the fact that Treasury projections show an ageing population will add about $60 billion to government expenditure by 2050, there is a groundswell of evidence that older people – a great many of them, women - are being kept out of employment by another, less savoury, modern development… age discrimination.

According to the Financial Services Council, three in 10 older workers have directly experienced age-related discrimination. At the Australian Human Rights Commission, we saw complaints about age discrimination increase by 44 percent between 1 July and 31 October 2011, compared to the previous year, and enquiries about discrimination on the basis of being too old go up by 78 percent. And, you guessed it, the majority (66 per cent) of enquiries received about age discrimination related to employment.

These complaints include documented cases of older workers being denied access to training and promotional opportunities or targeted for redundancy. We hear of age-based bullying and isolation in the workplace. And the alarming thing is that, statistically, you are classified as an “older worker” at 45.

Combined, these forces create a massive problem - for individuals and for the national economy.

If people are prevented from working longer, they will have fewer savings and be forced to live on the Age Pension for decades. And if this is the only source of income, it will be a mean and frugal way to live out that extra lifetime we have acquired.

Currently, one in four Australians over the age of 65 live below the OECD poverty threshold - over 18,000 people aged 55 or over were homeless on Census night in 2006 - 4,000 more than in 2001.

The lack of work opportunities for older Australians contributes to this dismal picture and age discrimination is one of its major drivers.

Thankfully, there is work being done to address this, like the Grey Areas inquiry being conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

It is imperative that we as a community – our policy-makers, our media, our business sector and more precisely, our employers – step up to change the way we think about ageing, to work hard to stamp out age discrimination and to accept that older people have the same right to work as everyone else.

Because let’s face it, with a bit of luck, we all expect to be an older person one day.

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51 comments

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    • M says:

      06:22am | 03/05/12

      In the office where I work, the older engineers are held in high regard simply for the amount of knowledge they have. Our company values experience.

    • Mr Cranky says:

      06:31am | 03/05/12

      I think Susan Ryan has hit it on the head. I am a 52 year old who wants to work , preferably in the Automotive field and is willing to do a traineeship. Most employers ask why do you wan’t to work for such low wages. My reply is usually that I need the employment along with the upskilling provided by the traineeship. So far not successful. I also find the JSAs don’t really understand the mature person mindset. I don’t have any problem working with a younger boss or colleagues. I don’t want to vegetate until 65 on a partial NS payment but employers need to be more open to what we can provide.

    • SteveKAG says:

      08:23am | 03/05/12

      I am not in the automotive industry but I would employ you in a heart beat but only if you changed your name tongue laugh

      I do think that there is a massive amount of peolpe that think once you are over 50 or 55 your value is lessoned.  I have found on the whole this is the opposite.  Of course you always get the grumpy old man who wants to do it is his way but as you have pointed out, that is not always, in fact it is rarely the case.

      By the way as a by line to the author this line here “Lately, the issue of keeping older people in the workforce has been finding its way into the media ”  Where in the media has it been getting coverage more lately than other times?

    • acotrel says:

      06:32am | 03/05/12

      What do you do about age discrimination when you are working ‘on contract’ ?  If you complain you are immediately out the door !  As a kid, whenever I went to a job interview, I was made to understand the importance of becoming academically and experientially qualified.  These days I have more academic qualifications and experience than Methusalah, however when I’m interviewed,  it becomes obvious that I make the juvenile managers suffer from feelings of inferiority and paranoia.
      Professionally, I really know my stuff both in the technical and administrative sense, however I recognise that the system runs on bullshit, and that I will never be able to change that !
      It is a simple fact of life ! ! !

    • SteveKAG says:

      09:31am | 03/05/12

      There we go with the system runs on bullshit again….......

    • Jim says:

      11:51am | 03/05/12

      “These days I have more academic qualifications and experience than Methusalah, however when I’m interviewed,  it becomes obvious that I make the juvenile managers suffer from feelings of inferiority and paranoia” - umm, no.

      I had the distinct displeasure of meeting you for a blessedly short time many years ago; I’m pretty sure the only thing that would be evident in an interview with you is the fact that you are a whinger with an obvious hatred to anyone above you. You were deemed too ‘high risk’ to continue on with our contract because of this.

    • SteveKAG says:

      09:24pm | 03/05/12

      Jim what a great comment, it sounds like your company made a very sound judgement, which is why he probably spends most of his mornings on the punch and his afternoons on utube making video’s

    • Dogbolter says:

      07:09am | 03/05/12

      I’m 44 and want to keep working as long as possible. Not for money reasons, but because I don’t want to vegetate at home, or even worse - decay away in a nasty nursing home, dying after sitting in my own dirty nappy for 5 days. I have to help support my mother, because the pension isn’t enough for her to live on, and it makes me very angry that young people say she should have had super, etc . Well, my mother worked her ass off for 40 years as the wife of a farmer, back when the aged pension was supposed to - and expected to - keep you comfortable in old age. There was no super offered. The attitude of the young guns today is incredibly selfish. I hate the fact they still subscribe to the myth that all people’s brains degenerate after the age of 40. The mature worker isn’t after your job - if we were, we would have it by now. We just want to be an asset to society and work to the best of our abilities. Why is that so threatening?

    • SteveKAG says:

      09:35am | 03/05/12

      I’m 45 Dogbolter, whilst we might be mature adults, we are not mature workers, we are actually in teh prime of our working life, we are what’s in demand.  Enjoy it mate, i think it goes down hill from here….lol

    • MarkF says:

      04:10pm | 03/05/12

      49 myself.  When I redid my security and crowd controller licenses last year we had an old fellow in his 70’s, frail using a walking stick come in to redo his.  He’s still working at the sharp end of things.

      Give the fellow big points for still trooping on.

    • SteveKAG says:

      09:25pm | 03/05/12

      well it does get a bit rowdy at the RSL on Saturday nights Mark….lol

    • Macca says:

      07:20am | 03/05/12

      Age Discrimination does happen. I hear comments consistent with the story at my workplace on a regular basis.

      For those who saw my comments on the JSA story yesterday, when we ran that initial 3-week job placement, a hiring manager (himself in his 40s) questioned as to the age-group of some of the participants. Why offer traineeships to those in their 50s seems a common sentiment.

      For all those knuckleheads, heres why;
      1. Babyboomers are far more loyal to their employers than Gen-Xers and definitely Gen-Yers
      2. Voluntary employee turnover is between 10 and 12% for a well performing company. That means all your staff (on average) will leave your company in 8 - 10 years. So if you can train a 55 year old who stays with your company till they are 65, you’ve got a fair reward for developing them

      Age shouldn’t be a barrier to employment

    • Chris says:

      08:03am | 03/05/12

      Hi Macca,

      Seems to me that your number (1) is age discrimination all by itself.

      In relation to 2 - yes in theory.  But that’s a big IF.  It also assumes that the older person will contribute the same financially to the company as the younger person.  Ultimately whether they will comes down to the personal characteristics of each.  However, since we’re disciminating on the basis of age, in many industries Gen-Y works harder, faster and longer hours than any of their older counterparts.  Partly this is because we can’t put our emails/phones down - but that doesn’t change the issue.

      There’s a longer term issue.  Let’s say we’re talking about a law firm.  That younger person, if ultimately promoted to partner, will then develop practice and be able to take over the reins at a certain point, contributing to the longer term survival of the enterprise.  An older person is unlikely to be either interested or able to do that in the time before they retire.

      My point is - it’s more complicated that a catch phrase.

      Best,
      Chris

    • Inky says:

      09:14am | 03/05/12

      Babyboomers are far more loyal to their employers than Gen-Xers and definitely Gen-Yers

      Sad but true, but then it’s also a two way steet. In this modern world of casual contracts. The number of employers who’ve slowly phased me out by giving me less and less shifts until they stopped giving me any, but never actually formally dismissed me. Add to this my job of last year going overseas with very little notice and the increasingly common expectation to work nights and weekends not only regularly, but with no penalty rates. (I just found out last week that I don’t get penalty rates for public holidays, after having to work good friday and easter monday)

      it’s no wonder most people my age don’t feel a great deal of loyalty to their employer. Myself, I try. I try very hard, all I want is a nice stable job I can build a career out of.

    • Vince says:

      11:39am | 03/05/12

      You gotta be kidding me.  There is no such thing as “age discrimination”.  Every employer is entitled to hire the best person they think is right for the job.  If they want someone young, who they can train and invest in, they are entitled to do just that.  If you are retired and want to go back and work, you’re actually taking jobs from young people who deserve a chance.  You’ve had your chance.

    • Ben says:

      06:42pm | 03/05/12

      So Vince says:  “If you are retired and want to go back and work, you’re actually taking jobs from young people who deserve a chance.  You’ve had your chance.” Well Vince, I think that you are showing your ignorance of the subject matter!!

    • Mr Cranky (Not really) says:

      12:04pm | 04/05/12

      Age shouldn’t be a barrier however it appears it is. 52 years of age am happy to do an Automotive Traineeship as I can put my knowledge as a Vehicle Mechanic to good use. Before any one asks I have a problem kneeling and squatting (no cartilage need replacements which can’t be done until at least 60), that is why I am chasing a sedentary position. Happy to do traineeship leading to full time work to buy house as I don’t want to rent for rest of life.

    • Robinoz says:

      07:27am | 03/05/12

      What most of us in the 60-65 age range want is a part-time job ... a couple of days per week to keep the brain going and to supplement our superannuation or government pension. The Transition to Retirement program run by the ATO and super funds is an excellent way to do this between 55-65 after which it cuts out. The govt pays you a cash bonus to remain at work while taking a little of your pension. It’s a good option for many. For me, I’m 65 and will work at home on an Internet business I have established; free to come and go as I choose and also do a bit of work. I’m really looking forward to it after 51 years in the workforce.

    • thatmosis says:

      07:42am | 03/05/12

      When I sold my business i decided to go back to work for a boss for a rest, sounds funny but working 24/7 is not my idea of fun anymore. I applied for a job, silver beard and all at a factory run by a 25 year old. I did a welding test and answered to usual questiions and went home sure in the knowledge that i wouldnt get the job. Lo and behold i was rung that night and told to start work the next day. After two weeks i was made factory foreman and the boss admitted that he had had reservations about taking on an older person but that his attitude had now changed as he found the work ethic of the older person was way above that of the average youger bloke. All we need is the chance to prove ourselves and the maturity and experience that we bring with us is usually a bonus for the employer. Sadly its the opposite that happens as the mindset is that older people should be put out to pasture and the younger people with little or no experience get the jobs. Its sad, very sad.

    • SteveKAG says:

      09:39am | 03/05/12

      Good on you for going out and doing that, good on the 25 year old who gave you a go.

      PS Does he know you spend so much time on here?....lol

    • Joan Bennett says:

      07:51am | 03/05/12

      When an employer says you are over-qualified, what they mean is you are too old.

    • Tony Nicholas says:

      11:53am | 03/05/12

      I’ve had that excuse when I left college at 22, and that was 30 yrs ago!

    • Lucy says:

      01:27pm | 03/05/12

      Tony I have recieved that too, before I learned to dumb down my resume. I dont mention most of my experience and qualifications these days and have a better hit rate at getting interviews. Now just have to win someone over in the interview…

    • Chris says:

      07:58am | 03/05/12

      OK - let me start by saying that I completely understand and agree with the issue - it is terrible to be labelled and discarded based on your age.

      For those of you who have already posted with a pretty sane approach to the issue and are on the hunt for a job as we speak - I genuinely wish you the best of luck.

      However, there are tangible economic and employment related issues when employing SOME older people It is not simply an issue of “you’re old we don’t want you”.  In brief, depending on the industry, these could include:

      1) The person being inflexible in their workpractices despite changes in the way the industry operates;
      2) The person not having current industry knowledge;
      3) The person being unable or unwilling to work as hard, as fast or as long as younger people;
      4) If it is a new job and not one in which the person has worked, the benefit of institutional memory does not come along;
      5) Some older people will have issues being subordinate to younger people;
      6) Investing in employing someone (say, in a professional service role such as a lawyer or accountant) costs the employer tens of thousands of dollars.  If the older person is only looking to work there for a few years before retiring, that money is better spent investing in a younger person who might (not definitely - but might) stay longer;


      That’s just a few that come to mind.  It’s not just a straightforward issue, and every job and every older person are different, so none of the above would apply in every given circumstance.

      Best,
      Chris

    • marley says:

      08:38am | 03/05/12

      What you say is true.  On the other hand, having had younger people working for me, I’ve found that:

      1) some younger folks confuse education with knowledge, and think they know a whole lot more than they actually do.  They don’t always take instruction well.
      2)  they don’t have any industry knowledge at all, and often have no actual appreciation that they are expected to be at the job, on time, every day.
      3) some are unwilling or unable to work as hard, as fast or as long as older people.  And they get distracted far more easily.
      4) they have no institutional memory because it’s their first job.
      5) they have issues with being subordinate to anyone.
      6) they’re there until they get a better offer or decide to take a year off to tour Europe.  They have no intention of staying longer than a year or two with the firm.

      It works both ways.

    • Dogbolter says:

      09:00am | 03/05/12

      Hi Chris. While i think that your post was quite well thought out, it still shows age discrimination. Most of us are well aware of our physical capabilities, and only fools apply for jobs they do not have the physical prowess to fulfil. Also, with regards to current industry knowledge, the same principle applies - and who applies for a position they have no knowledge or skills for?

      What mature workers offer is life experience, a willingness to want to work with you as long as they can, and respect. Your point about investing in someone is interesting, and I can see your side of it and agree, but also, statistics today show that young workers spend roughly 5 years in a job before moving on, so you have lost that investment also. The difference is that most mature workers will be upfront in saying how long they feel they are capable of working for - younger employees may not be quite so honest. Also, mature workers (for the most part) are able to read, write and express themselves coherently - unlike a lot of younger people today who don’t understand that using text-speak or lazy grammar (like ‘U’ instead of ‘you’) is not a professional look.

      You are right in that this is not a straighforward issue, but I believe that you are trying to justify being against aged workers and are using all the old stereotypes couched in new language. Unlike even 20 years ago, we are living longer and rather than decaying when we hit our 50s and 60s, people in that age range are mostly still mentally sharp and with it, and physically capable. I’m not sure what area of work you are in Chris, and if it is something like construction or trades that require a lot of physical output, then your concerns are justified. But it’s not hard to have a mature worker helping to train others without having to undertake grueling physical feats. I hope this has helped you to understand where we come from.

    • Chris says:

      09:34am | 03/05/12

      Marley - I totally agree (although the article was about older people so I focussed on that).

      Especially with (5) - the sense of entitlement and arrogance a lot of young people have is pretty astonishing sometimes.

      That said - is it innate do you think, or are they a product of a system which doesn’t actually teach them properly?

      C

    • M says:

      09:44am | 03/05/12

      I look down on anyone who uses text speak or smileys in emails, and I’m Gen Y.

    • Chris says:

      10:19am | 03/05/12

      @M
      I had to go back and double check that I hadn’t used any.. phew.

      @Dogbolter
      I do agree, but I also think we should all be cautious of stereotyping against either young or old.  Some older people (and I’m hating using that term by the way - over 45 is not that old) are goldmines.  Others are just rubbish.

      Although many baby boomers have demonstrably been more devoted to a particular employer or job, that is what was done in those days.  That is - you might go to uni (or not), get a job, work for 40 years and then retire.  It does not necessarily mean that baby boomers are inherently more loyal (although that may be true), or that they would display similar loyalty in the current day and age.  I expect that there was also greater job stability leading to less job hopping before the level of globalisation that we have seen in the last couple of decades.

      With the increase in numbers, education and competition in the workplace, older people have to be able to compete on their merits on not just rest on the laurels of “hey I’m old I have life experience”.

      Ultimately employment needs to be beneficial to the employer or they won’t bother.  They will pick the employee who they can be anticipate will create the most value for the enterprise.

      In answer to your question I am in the legal industry, which is an industry with notoriously high turnover of staff, and massive amounts of competition for promotion.  If an older person who practiced in any number of areas had been out of the industry for more than a few years, they would need to come up to speed with technology changes, with Court processes, with new workflow systems, and with the law itself.  They might be able to do that, but ultimately the time it takes them to do that costs the employer money. 

      If they miss any major issues of substance because they didn’t realise (or double check something they took for granted) a change in the law in a particular area, then it may also be a significant risk.

      Those same challenges, of course, would also face a younger person who was out of the industry for anything more than a short time.

      It’s a really complicated issue, so this is fun and I am enjoying reading your thoughts on the topic.

      Best,
      Chris

    • AdamC says:

      10:37am | 03/05/12

      I think younger workers can also have issues dealing with older peers or subordinates. On some level, it seems to go against the natural order. Younger people are used to dealing with older people as elders, mentors, guides and leaders, not as colleagues or underlings. 

      Not to mention, within teams, those outside of the general age range of other team members can probably feel a little left out of the group, which may cause cultural issues.

      I don not see these as justifications for not hiring older workers, more like challenges to be overcome. This will become more important for employers as the workforce contracts through ageing.

    • Pauline says:

      09:49am | 03/05/12

      I agree with acotrel - the contract worker is facing this on a regular and ongoing basis, every time they apply for a new contract.  It would be nice to think that the “permanently” employed older workers didn’t have to face this problem either.

      I reality, I was facing the end of a contract, and knowing that I was “on the wrong side of 40” I decided to re-educate myself so I could start my own business… which hopefully I can build up and continue ‘til I choose to retire (if I ever do).  However not everyone is able to do that, financially (just the cost of courses is high these days) or time wise (again, it takes time to do education and a full time job) and then go through the pain of the startup phase of the business.  Not everyone is suited to running their own business…

      I know it’s very naive, but surely we can get back into “can you do the job? do you want to do the job?” which is what we’re supposed to be thinking?  I know there’s a perception that the older worker may not be there as long, but honestly, given the life and health expectancy of someone who’s 60 and healthy vs some younger person who smokes and/or goes partying every weekend (with all the associated risky behaviours there) give me that 60-yo every day!!

      ... and yeah, we’ve all met people, of whatever age, who think they know everything and refuse to take instruction.  Or those who don’t want to turn up and think you should pay them to stay at home… that’s not an age thing, that’s an attitude thing, and can be addressed in the three month or six month probation period…

      Employ the person who can do the job best.

    • Vince says:

      09:49am | 03/05/12

      Although I agree with alot of the sentiment behind this article, I have to say there is no such thing as “Age Discrimination”.  It is a completely inappropriate term that has gained popularity lately, but in reality it is a bastardisation of what discrimination traditionally is intended to encapsulate.

      If we talk about “racial discrimination” we are concerned about a person who is being treated less opportunity than other people of a different race.  Fair enough.  But older people are simply younger people who have grown older.  At one time, they

    • Vince says:

      10:45am | 03/05/12

      Sorry, my comment got cut off for whatever reason.

      Just making the point that all of us have a time when we can take on certain jobs/roles in society.  When you are 80 years old you simply cannot seriously think you can do the same things then when you were younger, and vice versa.  That is not discrimination.  That is just common sense.

    • centurion48 says:

      10:01am | 03/05/12

      Good old government - sticking up for old people’s right to work. Well, they are not doing it for your benefit. The government supports you working until you die so that they don’t have to pay you the age pension, or have to pay you less pension as your superannuation account grows.

      This whole argument is nothing to do with the health and welfare of ‘older workers’ but simply the economic reality that this government, and every one that follows it, cannot afford to pay the spiralling social security bill. By all means continue working if that is what you need to do for financial reasons or because you need to feel wanted but don’t be under any misapprehension that the government cares about you - they care only about the bottom line.

      Disclaimer: I do not receive any government pension and am unlikely to ever qualify for one.

    • Dogbolter says:

      12:21pm | 03/05/12

      Centurion - regardless, I want to keep working until I can no longer do so. That’s preferable to mouldering away in a nursing home with your intelligence fading, being fed pig’s slop and wallowing in your own messes for days because staff see you as a burden. I want to stay energetic, vital and alert, look after myself and serve my community.

    • Bev says:

      01:17pm | 03/05/12

      @Dogbolter Having retired that is not always the case.  Observation shows me that those who culivate hobbies and/or other interests in the 10 or so years before they retire are much happier and live longer. I have seen too many drop off the perch because they don’t know what to do with themselves after retirement. I sometimes think that “not enough super” is an excuse.  Yes super is important but it does not guarantee the future.  You see happy retirees with little money just as you see those very comfortable but bored to death.  Retirement in far to many eyes is a retirement village/unit (preferably by the sea) put your feet up and relax. It just does not work that way.

    • centurion48 says:

      04:01pm | 03/05/12

      @Bev: I agree. I retired early and love it. I keep busy with interests I did not have enough time for when I worked. I still do an occasional period of work to give myself some extra stimulation and challenge but I pick and choose the tasks and only work when it suits me.
      I am glad I do not drink, smoke or gamble. There would be plenty of excuses to waste my life and my money if I did those things. Instead I am active and healthy - neither of which costs much money.

    • Liberal re-tard says:

      10:27am | 03/05/12

      Once you’re over 50 and LTU with few prospects you should probably be shot to trim the herd, except, that you’re probably a conservative voter, this will save you, if you weren’t it would be open season.

    • SteveKAG says:

      11:14am | 03/05/12

      wow…....you are so wise, thank you for gracing us with these great comments…....how blessed to we feel now.

    • subotic J. Simpson says:

      11:14am | 03/05/12

      Old people don’t need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.

    • Alex says:

      12:44pm | 03/05/12

      Geez, here’s another idea.  Why don’t you study hard, get a good job, work hard, build your career and save your money!  That way, you don’t have to whinge and cry that nobody want to hire you for a part-time job at the age of 65!  Instead, the young kid who needs a job (you know, the same guy who you call a lazy bludger for not having a job) gets to have a job!  Yay!  We all win!

    • Dogbolter says:

      02:01pm | 03/05/12

      Alex, some people who are of retirement age did not have that luxury. My mother did not - she was bought up when you were expected to work until 55, then get a government pension as a reward for your years of paying taxes. It’s only been the last decade or so that super has been pushed as a way to help stop this. Your post is aggressive, written in ‘young speak’ and shows no understanding that others may not be in the situation you are. Judging by your comments, I’d hazard a guess you are young and unemployed. It’s a rather hypocritical and cynical comment from someone who appears to be whining and insisting people follow his point of view - and that point of view is the only correct one.

      And by the way… at 45 I have a diploma and am currently undergoing certification in my area of expertise. I’m not crying poor, even though I have not have what you probably do - parents who provide for my every need and are happy to let me stay with them until 30 or so when they pay for the deposit on my house and I move out. I suggest that you look around yourself at just how other people live. We aren’t all the same. And what right do you have to tell me I have to retire at 65? If you are unemployable now, having less people over the age of 50 in work is not going to help.

    • Jane2 says:

      01:43pm | 03/05/12

      It wont happen until the legislation catches up.

      What is the point of staged retirement incentives that vanish as soon as you reach the age for the old age pension? They should continue on for as long as you are able and willing to work.

      What is the point of an employer employing you when, when you reach 65, you are no longer covered under Workers Compensation. You become a major potential liability as they could be sued out of existance for a workplace injury that cant be insured against. Its too risky for most organisations.

      I know someone who has just been forcibly retired at 73 by the organisation not renewing his contract. They say its not age related but strange how it was just after a minor workplace injury (ie a quick visit to the doctors and a couple of stiches) that they decided to let him go. He is still with it mentally and is fitter than many people 20 years his junior but is now on the scrap heap.

      I live in hope that it will all be sorted before I get close to minimum retirement age in 30 years. Long life runs in my family so living to 100 is a real possibility and I dont want 30 years of retirement!

    • Steveo says:

      01:48pm | 03/05/12

      I am 30 and if I was able to never work another day in my life I would be in heaven! There is so much I want to do with my life that I can’t because work takes up about 80% of my day so when I read stories like this I am honestly mystified by those who are able to retire comfortably and yet choose to still work. Get fit, go see the world, learn something new, invent something, read to yours hearts content and then maybe try writing something, don’t buy into all the rubbish about having to work to be happy, enjoy whats left of your life while you can. Otherwise anyone who wants to switch a house and pension for a 70 hour a week desk job is more than welcome to mine!

    • Chonko says:

      10:31pm | 03/05/12

      I put myself out to pasture very early, as i didn’t want to sit in any more soporific meetings with people holding branded coffee cartons and saying “moving forward” all the time.  People may want to keep working because it is all they know and have always defined themselves and their status by their work, but repeating the same day till the end, may not be the best use of life when it is finite and there is such a big wide world and so many books and blogs to read.

    • Lauren says:

      07:58pm | 04/05/12

      My husband quit his job working for a global company in IT.
      A young, fish out of water, Manager (read arrogant wanker with no practical skills) wanted to assert his new authority and exhibit his purported superiority in logistics, so he tried to force him to come in every day-3 hour round trip, after having worked from home for three years and with a performance track record that exceeded any other IT professional that went in every day.  My husband had good reason to want to work from home, apart from avoiding the commute in that he had become a single dad.  There were no valid reasons provided for it - it was just a power trip for the Gen-Y manager they hired fresh out of University with no working experience. 
      Since then he has been unable to obtain employment due to his age.  For a year he applied for a myriad of different jobs, well within the scope of his skill and knowledge set, yet each time - he was rejected on the premise of being overqualified in terms of skill set, or not having a degree despite 20 years of excellence in the industry. 
      He was only 51 at the time.
      Instead we have since accepted that he had no choice but to go into early retirement.

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      08:03pm | 16/06/12

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