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Returning to work after retirement

Many people seek employment after retiring from their main occupation. This may be for financial reasons or they want social contact with work friends and colleagues. They may also miss the sense of purpose and the mental and physical benefits of working.

In September 2007, almost one in 10 people aged 65 and over were still in paid work according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  A total of 258,700 over-65s were working either full-time or part-time, with another 3300 looking for work.

In 2004, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that from 1994 to 2014, the 55–59 year age group would have the highest increase in workforce participation of all age groups.

Finding work

People should be able to choose whether they wish to work past traditional retirement age. It can, however, be difficult for older workers to find work because of negative age perceptions held by some recruiters and employers.

Older job seekers also need to keep skills current and potential jobs may have lower rates of pay and/or status than their previous jobs. People wanting to return to work in their previous field after retirement may also find it difficult because they have lost contacts and visibility.

The government gives assistance to older Australians seeking work, including employment, training and learning services. See Experience+ for more information. In South Australia, Don’t Overlook Mature Expertise (DOME) can help people over 40 get jobs.

There are also incentives for employers to employ older workers, such as the Mature Age Worker Australian Apprenticeships Incentive Scheme. More information can be found at www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au.

If you think you have been discriminated against by a potential employer or recruitment agency because of your age, you may be able to lodge an age discrimination complaint with us. See Making a complaint.

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