Exiting Baby Boomers To Expand the Part-Time Workforce

We’ve been hearing about the impact of the ageing “baby boomers” for a number of years now. First, they were responsible for the sea change effect. Now, it’s the retirement effect as the bubs born in the ‘50s have started reaching age.

With rising costs of living and the increasing vitality of the over 60s, it seems that a lot of the baby boomers who were expected to retire and spend the rest of their days taking it easy are now preferring to continue to work, albeit in a part time capacity, either to supplement their super income or because they’re just too bored to retire.

No one doubts the skill sets of the boomers and their migration from full time to part time will mean we’ll see a growing pool of talent become available to smaller businesses who can get a lifetime of experience without the cost of full time employees.

Expected to kick in between 2014 and 2016, the availability of skilled and experienced “retirees” seeking part time work will mean an explosion in the number of part time workforce.

“There’s a huge move towards the part-time workforce,” says Fiona Anson, co-founder of HireMeUp.com.au, Australia’s newest flexible hours job site.  “Nearly one third of working Australians are now seeking part time work instead of full time work.”

“We’ve moved past the “greed is good” mentality of the ‘80s and ‘90s,” she explains. “We’re now seeing that people want to smell the roses more. The term “ work/life balance” is bandied around all the time, often preceeded by the word “elusive”.  But people today are more determined than ever to make it a reality.”

Anson attributes the growth in the number of working parents seeking more family time as one of the reasons behind the surge in the part-time workforce as well as the desire to combine work with other lifestyle activities.

“There’s a changing attitude about what’s important in life which, coupled with the slower transitional movement of boomers into retirement, will, in our opinion, see the exponential growth of part time jobs,” Anson says.

Fair Work, the ‘Go Home for Dinner’ campaign, Paid Parental Leave, the Retirement Effect — the public forum is rife with talk of embracing more job flexibility.

Anson says, “We’re seeing more and more employers embrace a flexible work practices due in no small way to the changing economic conditions, the business environment and public demand. It’s no secret that retail in Australia is suffering right now. Retailers are a huge employer of part times, casuals and temps. And as they fight to maintain profits in an already difficult marketplace, employing people on an “as needed” rather than full time basis, is incredibly appealing for them financially. And retail is only one industry. We’re seeing a huge spike in part time positions becoming available across all industry sectors and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.”

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