Published on Aug 9, 2016

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$78 billion is waiting to be unlocked in the Australian economy according to new research by PricewaterhouseCoopers. andy davey cartoon - mature workers


What’s the secret?  Improving the employment rate of over 55s.


The ‘Golden Age Index’ assesses older people’s activity in the labour market.


Using this data, the report delivered by PricewaterhouseCoopers compared the employment rate of older Australians with other countries.


It found matching Sweden’s rate of 74 per cent of over 55s in the workforce would deliver a 4.7 per cent increase to GDP.  Currently Australia is ranked 16th out of 34 OECD countries for over 55s workforce participation.  Neighbouring New Zealand is ranked second.

Cessnock City Council Economic Development Manager Jane Holdsworth said workforce participation was important across all demographics.


“Right now we are dealing with the pressing issue of youth unemployment in the Hunter region and in our LGA specifically,” Ms Holdsworth said.


“Still, we should remember true economic resilience and stability is founded on diversity and this report is a critical reminder we need to ensure younger, older, indigenous and disabled people have a place in the workforce.”


Preparing for the future


The PricewaterhouseCoopers report highlighted the need to view the labour market in the context of our aging population.  By 2030 the worldwide population over 60s will grow by 30 per cent.


Already, older Australians are underutilised in the market according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Economics and Policy Partner Jeremy Thorpe.


“There is considerable economic gain to Australia in encouraging more older Australians into the workforce,” Mr Thorpe said.



“We have a rapidly ageing population and this puts pressure on the health and social care systems and also threatens the financial sustainability or some public and private pensions.


“What we’re seeing in other parts of the world is that later retirement and more flexible working policies are good for the economy, businesses and individuals.”


Subsidies for employing older people


The Restart Programme is an Australian Government wage subsidy that encourages businesses to employ mature age workers.  It provides payment of up to $10,000 for employment of eligible mature age job seekers for 12 months or more.


Find out more employment subsidies at the Department of Employment website.


Download a copy of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Golden Age Index report here.