Attitudes to Older Workers

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Attitudes to older workers
Prepared for the Financial Services Council

January, 2012

© Westfield Wright Pty Levels 13 & 14 Macquarie House 167 Macquarie St SYDNEY NSW 2000 Commercial-In-Confidence PH: +61 (0) 438 555 436 +61 (0) 457 805 838

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Overview

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Executive Summary - Workers & Employers

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Findings from Workers Aged 50+ (Quantitative Study)

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Findings from Employers (Qualitative Study)

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Appendix I:

Methodology …………………………………………………………….

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© Westfield Wright Pty Levels 13 & 14 Macquarie House 167 Macquarie St SYDNEY NSW 2000 Commercial-In-Confidence PH: +61 (0) 438 555 436 +61 (0) 457 805 838

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Overview
The Fact That Matters Most: Over 1 million Australians aged 50 or over today have insufficient pension or superannuation cover.

In commissioning this work, the Financial Services Council is taking some of the first steps in Australia to deal with a problem that is confronting many developed countries. While population growth and fertility rates continue to stagnate, people are living longer, meaning that in Australia the over-60s are growing in number at approximately four times the rate of other demographic groups. At current trends, by 2050 there will only be 2.7 working Australians for every citizen over 65. In the 1970s, the ratio was 7.5 workers for each older Australian. Without decisive policy action, this will have significant implications for the quality-of-life of every Australian. Increasing the labour force participation of this age group provides a double benefit in combating the impact of an ageing population:  By increasing the number of people in the workforce, ameliorating skill shortages and reducing the dependency ratio (the ration of retirees to workers); and  Giving these workers more time to save for retirement, increasing their income in retirement and ultimately reducing the burden of the age pension on the Federal Budget. Understanding the attitudes of both older workers themselves - and those that employ them – is a demanding task and the present report represents the first complete picture: A unique survey of the views of Australians over the age of 50, grafted to an in-depth qualitative study of employers, including representatives from a range of sectors and sizes of business and government. The qualitative data presented here covers several subject areas, from perceived prejudice and productivity, to the attitudes and attributes of older workers – as well as their awareness of the demographic dilemma. This is in pursuit of the core research objective of pinpointing as precisely as possible the key, salient issues in public opinion. For a clear majority of those we surveyed - 56% - the statistic highlighted in the box above is the most concerning of all. In the end, it will be only through smart, effective decisions by politicians and policy-makers that this ‘demographic time-bomb’ can be defused. By providing an understanding of the views of employers and employees about working past 50 and pinpointing the specific attitudes and problems in this market, this report provides an important step in developing those policies.

NICHOLAS WRIGHT Principal
© Westfield Wright Pty Levels 13 & 14 Macquarie House 167 Macquarie St SYDNEY NSW 2000 Commercial-In-Confidence PH: +61 (0) 438 555 436 +61 (0) 457 805 838

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Executive Summary: Employers & Employees Aged 50+
The proportion of Australians of retirement age is increasing rapidly. What was previously an alarming blip on demographers’ charts is now a present policy challenge. While the labour force participation rate for prime age persons for Australia is 5th in the OECD and well above the OECD average, the participation rate for 55 to 64 year olds is ranked 13th and for those aged 65 and over, 10th.1 There are nine key overall findings which...
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