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Australians are living longer, staying more active and working long after the traditional retirement age of 65. What does this mean for organisations?


Once upon a time, reaching your 60s meant your retirement years weren’t far away. These days, however, people are opting to work well into their 60s or 70s. In fact, the 2015 Intergenerational Report revealed that in the past five years the number of Australians over 65 in the workforce has increased to 13% – up from 6% just five years ago. This is forecast to increase to 17% by 2055.

It is clear that Australians are working longer. While some are choosing to, for others, it's a matter of necessity.

Longer life expectancies mean retirement funds potentially need to support us for up to 30 years. This means not everyone can afford to completely retire at 65. In fact, retirement patterns are becoming less linear, moving between stages of full-time work, career breaks and retraining and part-time or casual work. This has implications for the demand for health and community services and also for those working in these sectors.

Employers who recognise and plan for these trends will be well positioned to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities of our ageing population.


The business case for supporting older workers


Retaining older workers is cost-effective and benefits include lower recruitment costs.

Labour shortages

Australia’s ageing population and declining population growth mean fewer people are entering the workforce to replace older workers. Future labour shortages will make it more difficult to recruit suitably skilled staff.

Experience and productivity

Older workers know their profession and are more likely to perform their role efficiently.


Put strategies in place 

Have the conversation

Provide transition to retirement planning for your employees. Talk to HESTA about how we can support you through workplace education and advice. Remember, everyone’s circumstances are different and a one-size-fits-all approach won’t suit all employees.


Provide access to appropriate training to encourage upskilling and foster employee engagement.


Workplace anti-discrimination and equal opportunity policies help to create a work environment where all employees feel valued, regardless of age.


Older employees have invaluable skills and knowledge gained through years of on-the-job learning and life experience. Workplace mentoring programs can help to capture that knowledge and can be beneficial for employees at the beginning of their career. This type of relationship benefits both the mentor and the mentee, acknowledging the value older employees bring to the workforce.

Flexible working arrangements

Providing options to work part time, job share and scale back working hours  – with a view to gradually transition to retirement – can encourage older employees to stay in paid employment. It’s also possible to offer older employees the opportunity to continue building their super while reducing their time spent at work.

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We can help you inform, inspire and advise your employees to make the best possible decision for their futures.