A new research paper from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) says Australia needs to help older workers enter “encore careers” in which they retrain and seek work that helps them give back to the community and fulfil old ambitions.
Reskilling for encore careers for (what were once) retirement years, released yesterday and authored by Jane Figgis of AAAJ Consulting Group, says an encore careers have become possible because we’re living longer. The study notes that “60 years ago only around 7% of people who reached the age of 65 lived to 90; that figure is now 25% and rising.” Many people want to use those extra years well, often by working in a field they find interesting but were not able to enter during their first career.
Three important characteristics of encore careers are:
- People see retirement age as a moment in life when they can do something new – they don’t plan to continue their previous career;
- Encore careers involve a serious time commitment but money is not the motivator
- Over a year encore careerists will rack up the hours to work about half of a full time job, but probably won’t work the same hours ever week. People at this time of life value autonomy and flexibiilty;
- People want to learn. Encore careers “build on the person’s knowledge, skill and experience, but an element of personal change, of growth and renewal, is inherent in the concept. The idea that an encore career takes a person to new places, that it requires learning — non-formal or formal — is exactly what makes an encore career attractive to many people,” the study says.
Developing policies that recognise these characteristics of those who desire encore careers, the study says, is desirable for many reasons. But the study also warns that employers will need deep cultural change to adjust their attitudes to older workers if they are to take advantage of encore careers.
The study is just 41 pages long and My Business feels it deserves a read for many reasons!