In 1970, only 8% of Australians were older than 64. In 2050, it'll be almost a quarter. Pension age is increasing, but this still lags behind growing life expectancy.
According to the GAP report on Productive Ageing, two million older people are willing and able to work - in fact, their underemployment currently costs Australia $10.8 billion a year in lost GDP. An increase of 3% of workplace participation in people over the age of 55 would increase GDP by $33 billion, while 5% growth would see 750,000 benefit recipients become tax payers and give the economy a $48 billion boost.
So why aren't we employing Australia's mature citizens? Ageist prejudices persist, as a fixed retirement age labels people who reach it as unemployable. Besides affecting job prospects, ageism can have a profound impact on someone's confidence, financial situation and quality of life.
That we are living longer, healthy lives shouldn't be a threat - it is an opportunity to be seized. For the next two months, we will be exploring the many facets of productive ageing. Please contact Svetlana at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story, opinion or blog idea.