Are you over the age of 45 and considering a return to study? More than 10% of Australians aged 15 to 64 are undertaking tertiary study. Compare that to just 2% of people with a qualification in the early 1970s, and it becomes clear how important post-secondary education is for a successful career. Is the investment of time and money into study worth it for your career?
The changing face of employment
The average lifespan is 78 years for men, and 83 years for women. The average retirement age for Australians is just over 55. However, in the past five years, that age has increased to about 63 years old. The population is aging, and people are working longer as a result. Couple that with the increasing extension of the age Australians can draw a part or full pension. Suddenly, as a 45-year-old employee, you are faced with the fact that you could spend another two decades working. So how do you ensure you maximise employability in a market that’s never been so crowded? The answer is education.
Experience vs Education – why not have both?
Retirement is not an ‘end game’. More than a quarter of those retiring between the ages of 45 and 59 will return to work in some capacity, many of them full time. So what advantages does an experienced worker have over younger colleagues?
Employers have to make a tough call after weighing up their options. For example, do they value experience more highly than recent qualifications? The answer depends on the industry, but you can guarantee that any employer will look favourably on a candidate with both these assets. Employees with experience and recent qualifications bring fresh knowledge of the industry plus experience, or ‘corporate memory’, of what processes work best. Studying for qualifications to enhance your knowledge and skills is a great investment in future-proofing your career.
The benefits to your boss and economy
Political parties of all persuasions recognise the need to engage older workers. It’s in the national interest to have qualified, experienced employees of more mature ages working, rather than not paying taxes. As a result, there’s good incentives for businesses to hire older workers, whether it be cash grants of up to $10,000 or a range of tax offsets.
Apart from financial benefits, however, it makes sense for employers to consider older workers with new qualifications. Over 45’s naturally take on mentoring roles, given your experience both in the workplace and of life in general. Mature-aged workers’ absenteeism rates are far below those of younger workers, and highly value punctuality. Employers who embrace older workers will attract more of like kind, as their workplace is seen as ‘user-friendly’ to the older demographic. Studies have found that older workers take less sick days, are more loyal, that workers aged 55 or older perform at their best for seven hours of an eight hour day, much longer than younger employees!
From silver-haired to gold star player
As an over 45 you are valued for taking pride in doing your job well, rather than simply going through the motions. Your good time management skills are recognised along with the confidence of knowing you can do a job well, and on time. Younger workers tend to imitate you and rise to the occasion of being coached in ‘old-fashioned’ workplace values. As an older employee, you may be less focused on money than at the start of your career, and willing to be flexible with incentives.
Mature-age study isn’t just something that sets older workers apart. Combine fresh education with your strengths of existing knowledge and experience, and as an over 45-year-old, you become a force to be reckoned with in the modern workplace. What employers wouldn’t be keen to benefit from such gold?