Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Commentary: Early Retirement Trend Reversing in Australia

Ross Gittins, commenting in the Sydney Morning Herald on the sharp increase in the number of older workers staying in employment, observes that the rise has been caused by men staying in full-time jobs--that is, it represents "men staying in employment and not retiring, rather than men who'd formerly retired being enticed back into the workforce." Women is a different story, as participation by women aged 55 to 64 has been constantly rising as part of the general trend for women to return to or stay in the workforce.

In looking at various explanations for the reversal, Gittins notes that, in earlier times, a lot of the supposed early retirement was involuntary, while more recently there's been a lot fewer involuntary departures from the workforce. In addition, he notes that "the now ageing baby boomers are healthier and better educated than the generation that preceded them" so that "they may have higher expectations for retired comfort than could be satisfied by just the proceeds of the age pension." Finally, while he believes that prejudice against older workers is dissipating rapidly, this is "less because of the sermons than because of the shortage of experienced, steady workers. Market forces strike again."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald "Another myth bites the dust" (February 7, 2007)

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