Boomers work til death, by choice

by Stephanie Zillman05 Sep 2012

Whether it’s something in the water or a new lease on working life – a new survey has found a remarkable 10% of Baby Boomer workers intend to continue working right up until death.

The COTA SA study also found some 20% expect to work at the least until the age of 71, while 8% of South Australians born between 1945 and 1964 would like to stay on part time or casually. Less than half, (40%) said they would like to retire between the typical retirement age bracket of 61 to 65.

Financial necessity may be the chief motivator for a small sector of the boomers, but for the majority of respondents work was an enjoyable experience made better by health and flexible hours.

Notable findings included:

  • Approximately 40% of workers said they would prefer a phased withdrawal from the workforce
  • 20% wanted a clear-cut end to their working life
  • Almost half of workers were not confident about their financial stability in retirement – up to 44% expected they would need an age pension

SageCo, a specialist agency which partners with organisations to address the risks, challenges and opportunities of an ageing workforce, has data which adds weight to the sentiment that the older workforce wants to work flexibly, and is not on resentful of needing to work or longing to retire.

Alison Monroe from SageCo previously told HC that data assembled from the opinions of 2,500 workers aged 50+ indicated that older employees want to stay employed, but under flexible working conditions. She said overwhelmingly their studies have shown that if older workers feel valued, they generally want to remain employed either on a full-time non-fixed-hour working week, part-time or under other flexible work scenarios.  

On the 2010/2011 SageCo data, 81% stated they would continue to work if they could work differently. “The problem is that the conversation is not taking place,” Monroe said.

It is essential for leaders to be talking to the mature members of the team and gauging their future work intentions rather than their ‘retirement intentions’, which sends the wrong message.

*The survey was comprised of 1,200 SA men and women aged 48-67


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  • by Heidi Holmes 5/09/2012 3:33:34 PM

    Increases in life expectancy and boomers generally leading healthier and busier lifestyles in their 60s than their parents, is also driving this shift. While many are still financially motivated, we have also found that a large proportion of our jobseekers on want to stay engaged and continue to contribute to their community. This can be either through paid work, volunteering or even mentoring which many employers are also beginning to see the value in.

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