Baby boomers back in business

Baby Boomer Jane Spencer at work at IGA The Avenue – six months after she initially retired.
Baby Boomer Jane Spencer at work at IGA The Avenue – six months after she initially retired. Lauren Reed

JANE SPENCER is one of the many Baby Boomers choosing to work rather than retire this year.

She will celebrate her 65th birthday this year but after leaving the workforce for just six months and living on only an old age pension, she has decided to return to work.

"Financial was the main reason I went back (to work)... but I was bored and I wanted something more to do with my life," Ms Spencer said.

She is among the first of the Baby Boomers, who are turning 65 in 2012, which will have a profound impact on the labour market.

The Treasury's 2010 Intergenerational Report assumed that the ageing population would cause the labour force participation rate to track along at just above 65% until about 2017 and then start declining.

But according to new results from BIS Shrapnel's Long Term Forecast Update, the participation rate will increase once demand for labour picks up later this year.

The participation rate is forecast to increase from its current 65.2% once demand for labour picks up later this year.

It will continue to trend upwards, peaking at around 66.5% just after the middle of the decade, before returning to its current level by the middle of the next decade.

According to the report the main reasons Boomers are choosing to work are because the female participation rates in the workforce are higher, people are healthier and because of financial reasons, with some baby boomers losing savings during the global financial crisis.

Ms Spencer started work when she was 14 at a Thrifty Nifty store. She said she had years of experience and had learnt valuable customer service skills over the years.

"At first I thought I had nothing to offer and that I wouldn't remember... but I did remember and I have lots of things I can teach the younger girls," Ms Spencer said.

"I was trained to look after my customer... and can learn and remember the names of customer... and they know my first name."

Hattie's IGA proprietor Jill Grant said that Ms Spencer had a great attitude that rubbed off on other employees.

"With the employment situation in Mackay we have to be flexible," Ms Grant said.

"We employ on attitude over everything else... she takes pride in her job and she is now a key staff member at the Avenue's IGA.



  •  The female participation rate for those in the 60-64 year age bracket has increased by 25% over the past  decade to 45%
  •  For males it has increased 12% to 62%

Topics:  baby boomers career employment retirement

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