Working in ageing and working while ageing: Business
‘Working in ageing and working while ageing’ is the Aus-
tralian Association of Gerontology’s (AAG) hot topic for
2018. Our journal regularly publishes articles on these
interrelated topics. This issue is no exception. We include a
special feature on the topic, accompanied by a commentary
from A/Professor Elizabeth Brooke, an expert on the older
workforce and its societal implications.
In June 2017, the Senate Committee’s ‘Inquiry into the
Future of the Aged Care Workforce’ report was published
. The Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce is cur-
rently engaged in consultations with key stakeholders. A
summit in December 2017 canvassed views and another
will occur in April, prior to the Taskforce reporting to the
Minister in June.
Such planning is commendable, but must not be allowed to
overshadow the broader issues related to an overall older
workforce: (re-) education and training, to create an inclu-
sive, culturally competent workforce, while ensuring that
government policies do not adversely inﬂuence older peo-
ple’s employment and retirement plans. As noted in a pre-
vious Editorial , the Australian Human Rights
Commission’s Inquiry into employment discrimination,
‘Willing to Work’, highlighted underemployment due to
poor health and ageism . Employment enables people to
age well, both ﬁnancially and emotionally . Those who
want to remain in paid employment should be enabled to
do so by policies and practices that promote non-discrimi-
natory, ﬂexible working opportunities.
Australians are staying in the workforce longer. In 2014,
54% of 60- to 64-year-old Australians were employed,
compared to 32% in 2000 . However, this proportion is
still relatively low compared to other OECD countries.
There is scope to optimise workforce participation by
responding to the changing needs of our society: this will
require creative reskilling to meet the needs of older Aus-
tralians wherever they live, not least those based in rural
and remote areas.
Older Australians contribute to the economy not only as
carers and volunteers, but also as employees, employers
and consumers. Indeed, in 2011, 22% of business owners
were 65 or over . Our ageing society will require
services far beyond aged care, health and funeral insurance.
The silver dollar is already being recognised by the leisure
industry. We need to capitalise on the business opportuni-
ties afforded by the ageing global marketplace, with prod-
ucts and services such as personal sensors and ‘third age
experience agents’ [3; p.15] created by, with, and for, older
1 Senate Community Affairs Committee Secretariat. Future of Australia’s
Aged Care Sector Workforce. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia;
2017. [Cited 28 December 2017.] Available from URL: https://www.
2 Sims J. Our ageing workforce. Australasian Journal on Ageing 2017;
3 Australian Human Rights Commission. Willing to Work: National Inquiry
Into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and
Australians With Disability. Sydney: The Commission; 2016 [Cited 20
January 2017.] Available from URL: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/
4 Per Capita Australia Limited. Blueprint for an Ageing Australia. Sydney:
Per Capita Australia Limited; 2014.
Australasian Journal on Ageing, Vol 37 No 1 March 2018, 7
2018 AJA Inc.