The Ageing Workforce

| June 30, 2009

If you make hiring decisions in the finance or finacial services sector, then Christine Harley wants to know more about how you relate to the ageing workforce.

I’m researching the views of employers (those who make the final decision whether to hire one person over another) as opposed to HR people (who generally filter applicants and compile short lists of candidates for the consideration of the final decision-maker) in the finance/financial services sector. A survey I’m using can be found by clicking here.

It is now well acknowledged that the Australian population is ageing. The number of older adults living in Australia is steadily increasing meaning that the age of our workforce will also increase. The baby boomers are approaching the traditional retirement age, most within the next two decades.

It makes sense that the longer baby boomers work, the more beneficial it will be for our economy. Compared to their predecessors, the baby boomer cohort is generally better educated, and this is correlated with higher workforce participation. Further, research has indicated that many do not intend to fully retire but wish to continue working part time or in less demanding roles.

For those intending to retire, recent events are likely to have caused at least some disruption to their plans. The financial crisis which has knocked billions of dollars of value off retirement savings, and the Federal Government’s announcement that the pension age is to increase, will have caused many baby boomers to rethink their future. These and other factors may mean forced prolonged participation in the workforce.

Whether baby boomers want to, or have to remain at work – it seems that an increase in the proportion of older worker participation is inevitable.

Different industry sectors have different age profiles – I’m wondering how the finance/financial services sector – which tends to hire young graduates into a ‘churn and burn’, work hard/play hard kind of culture that seems to embed the assumption of relatively early retirement – will cope with the ageing demographics. If you make hiring decisions in the finance or financial services sector, I’d appreciate your views. You can find my research survey by clicking here.


Christine Harley is currently completing her honours year in psychology at Charles Sturt University whilst also working part time in the not-for-profit sector. A Chartered Accountant, Mum of 3, who enjoys netball, running, kickboxing, photography…and now blogging! For more details about Christine’s research you can contact her at