More women aged over 60 working for longer, report finds

MORE older people are staying in the workforce for longer, particularly women aged over 60, a new report shows.

In 2013, 45% of women aged 60-64 were in paid work - a rise from just 15.2% in 1993, according to a 20-year analysis of data by Mark Wooden and Roger Wilkins of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research.

They also found the proportion of women aged 55-59 still in the workforce jumped to 65.3% from 36.8% in the same period.

There was also an increase in women over 65 and still working.

Wooden and Wilkins said the trends were similar for men. By 2013, 17% of men older than 65 were working or looking for work, double the number from 20 years earlier.

For men aged 60-64, participation rates had jumped from 48.3% to 62.5%.

Prof Wooden said the increases reflected a range of financial, social and career profile changes, and hopefully were a sign of a cultural shift in favour of older workers.

"There was a sense in the past that if you were 55 and you worked for a company that shut down it would be very hard for that worker to get back into the workforce," he said.

"It is still hard but hopefully we are now seeing signs of changes to that attitude."

Prof Wooden said that many older women were not in the workforce to begin with, or had quit work relatively early in life, so the notion of retirement was not really the same thing for them as it was for men.

Source: National Seniors

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