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Sheer boredom sees retirees rejoin the workforce

Retiree, retirement, rejoin the workforce

Nearly one-third of Aussie retirees who rejoined the workforce said it was because they were "bored" or "needed something to do", the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals. 

Fresh numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded that 177,500 people, or 3.6 per cent of the working population older than 45 said they had rejoined the workforce because they regretted retiring.

While 42 per cent of people cited "financial need" as the governing factor, 32 per cent said they wanted to rejoin the workforce, or had rejoined the workforce because they were "bored" or "needed something to do".

The latest figures also highlighted that Australians are happy to retire older, with most planning to retire at 65. That's an extra two years of working on the average planned retirement age a decade ago. 


Twenty-one per cent of those aged 45 and over and in the workforce had no plans to retire at all.

ABS chief economist, Bruce Hockman noted the increase in the planned retirement age, and commented: “This is consistent with the continuing trend of people staying in the workforce for longer.

“A decade ago, around 9 per cent of people aged 65 and over were employed. This has increased to around 13 per cent in 2016-17.”

However, the figures also reported that the current average retirement age for living people aged 45 and older was 55.3 years. 

Twenty five per cent of men and 46 per cent of women had retired at less than 55 years, while 46 per cent of men and 39 per cent of women retired when they were between 55 and 64.

Just 15 per cent of women and 29 per cent of men retired at 65 and over.

Those who retired within the last five years were more likely to retire later, at 62.9 years.

The figures also showed that financial security and personal health and ability were the most common reasons older workers chose to retire, with 41 per cent of men and 34 per cent of women indicating this factor. Just 13 per cent of people said reaching pension eligibility age was a key factor.

While in retirement, 54 per cent of people expected their main source of personal income would be “superannuation/annuity/allocated pension”, while 25 per cent expected to receive a government pension or allowance.

However, the ABS added that expected incomes varied between genders, explaining: “Although personal income was a common expected source for both men (79 per cent) and women (70 per cent), 11 per cent of women expected to rely on 'partner's income' in contrast to only 2 per cent of men.”

In fact, women were nearly three times more likely to retire with no expectation of a personal income.

Most (65 per cent) retirees had made contributions to a superannuation fund, but men were more likely (74 per cent) to have done so than women (58 per cent).

When retirement was the result of a retrenchment, dismissal or inability to find work, men edged women out just slightly.

Women were more likely to retire to take on a caring role and men were more likely to exit the workforce due to a sickness, injury or disability.

Earlier this year, the ABS warned that older Australian women are feeling the pressure of “competing societal demands” as pressure to continue working while taking on a caring role.

Working women between 55 and 64 are “particularly affected by competing societal demands that encourage increased labour force participation in older age, while simultaneously being relied upon to care for the growing number of older Australians ageing in their own home,” the Bureau said.

Women approaching retirement (aged 55-64) made up 57.5 per cent of carers in 2015, with 58.3 per cent of those also participating in the labour force. That’s compared to 69.5 per cent of non-carers in the same age bracket.

It’s not just those aged 55-64. In 2015, nearly one in five (18.4 per cent) of Australians aged over 65 were carers and just over three-quarters, 76.0 per cent, were looking after a spouse.

“Providing informal care can affect an older person’s capacity to remain in paid work,” the ABS explained.

“In 2015, 41.5 per cent of older primary carers spent an average of 40 hours or more per week in their caring role, leaving little time to carry out paid work.

“Of older carers who were not in the labour force, one in eight (12.7 per cent) reported that the main reason for leaving work was to commence their caring role.”

Sheer boredom sees retirees rejoin the workforce
Retiree, retirement, rejoin the workforce
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