Mature-aged Australians contribute $65 billion to economy

"LIFTERS, not leaners" is the message Michael O'Neill wants communicated in relation to the economic contributions of mature-aged Australians.

Speaking at the recent AGM of the Toowoomba Branch of National Seniors Australia, the organisation's chief executive highlighted that far from being a drain on the economy, older Australians still had a lot to offer in terms of economic productivity.

Backing his claims is a recent study conducted by the National Seniors Productive Aging Centre (NSPAC).

NSPAC is an initiative of National Seniors and the Australian Government and aims to generate a greater appreciation and understanding of the needs facing older Australians and ultimately improving their quality of life.

The study looked at three key areas of economic activity - the economic contribution of mature age workforce participation, the contribution of mature age primary and non-primary carers providing informal care and the contribution of mature age Australians as volunteers.

In terms of workforce participation, the mature worker is a good investment.

Staying generally 3.7 times longer with an employer than younger workers, there is a positive impact on a company's bottom line in terms of recruitment and training costs.

Yet, there is still a resistance to hiring older workers, an issue currently being addressed by National Seniors through their development and deployment of an Employers Toolkit.

The toolkit aims to educate prospective employers about the benefits of hiring older workers.

Mr O'Neill commented that recruitment decisions "should not be based on a birth certificate, but on the quality of a person and their experience".

The report goes on to state that "the economic contribution of mature age workers as calculated by total human resources benefits is estimated at $27.4 billion per annum".

The provision of informal care - be it grandparent care or care for the those with moderate to profound limitations - is another area where mature Australians make a valuable contribution, on both a human and economic level.

As an example, the report highlights the 541,000 primary carers over 45 years of age providing assistance to those with "profound or severe core limitations".

Such assistance is currently valued at $596 per week, which means this group of mature Australians provides a service valued at $15.5 billion per annum.

Finally, the volunteering efforts of older Australians - more than one million people in this age group volunteer an average of 6.09 hours per week - is valued as a $16.3 billion contribution to the Australian economy on an annual basis.

So the overall picture of mature Australia is that of a group of people both willing and able to contribute positively to the nation's economic sustainability.

Often a 'silent army', just 'getting on with it', this is a segment of society which perhaps deserves greater recognition for its efforts.

For more information on the Productive Aging Centre visit http://www.productiveageing.com.au.

Facts and figures for this report were sourced directly from Appreciating value - Measuring the economic and social contributions of mature age Australians, Brooke E, Melbourne National Seniors 2015.


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