Shift of fo­cus can

The golden years of work can be a gain rather than a strain, Careerone Edi­tor Cara Jenkin re­ports.

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MA­TUREAGE work­ers with re­tire­ment in their sights have many op­tions avail­able to achieve their goals, ex­perts say.

Staff who are ea­ger to leave work be­hind them are be­ing urged by gov­ern­ments and in­dus­try to stay em­ployed to ease the skills short­age.

Ac­cess Eco­nom­ics pro­jec­tions show just 12,500 peo­ple will be en­ter­ing the work­force by 2020, in con­trast to 170,000 peo­ple in 2002.

Many ma­ture-age work­ers, how­ever, want or need to stay em­ployed to con­tinue build­ing their re­tire­ment nest-egg and make a con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity.

It means work­ers aged over 45 years need to find new ways to stay en­gaged and be val­ued in the work­place.

Ca­reer Clar­ity prin­ci­pal con­sul­tant Jenni Proc­tor says many ma­ture-age work­ers feel like their ca­reer op­tions have been nar­rowed and of­ten won­der if they can do any­thing to re­vi­talise their ca­reer.

‘‘Many are tired of do­ing the work they have al­ways done and are at­tracted to the free­dom of re­tire­ment but they don’t want to give up work com­pletely, they just want to do things dif­fer­ently,’’ she says.

‘‘One of the things I par­tic­u­larly try to make clients aware of is their skills must not be dated.

‘‘If they are say­ing ‘I didn’t get this job be­cause of my age’, in fact of­ten, if you dig a lit­tle deeper, it’s they haven’t kept up with things, the way they are done, or kept them­selves up-to-date.’’

She says ma­ture-age work­ers also can­not say that they are ‘‘ not very good at tech­nol­ogy’’.

‘‘To me, it’s a ma­jor red flag – my im­me­di­ate re­sponse is to make sure you need to up­skill in that area,’’ he says.

‘‘If you don’t have these skills, it’s ba­si­cally the same as not be­ing able to read or write these days.

‘‘It’s not op­tional, it’s an es­sen­tial skill.’’

HR De­vel­op­ment at Work prin­ci­pal con­sul­tant Brid­get Hogg says count­ing down the days to re­tire­ment or tak­ing more time away from work is not the only way in which work­ers can be happy.

She says many will gain en­joy­ment by mak­ing a change to their role or be­ing a sup­port to other staff.

‘‘Don’t do what you’ve al­ways done, un­less you love it,’’ she says.

‘‘Now is the time to choose work you love.’’

She urges work­ers to as­sess how they want to be re­mem­bered when they do leave the work­force.

‘‘Would you like to be re­mem­bered as a happy soul who in­spired and en­cour­aged oth­ers,’’ she says.

‘‘No­tice how your team mem­bers con­trib­ute and praise them.’’

GBA Projects man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Greg Bet­ros, 58, men­tors younger staff, in­clud­ing his son, Matthew, and Ash­leigh Smith, at his pro­ject man­age­ment firm so they can build the skills to work on their cur­rent en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture projects.

He says he weighed up semi-re­tire­ment about five years ago.

In­stead he chose to ex­pand the busi­ness and help younger work­ers com­ing up through the ranks.

Mr Bet­ros says that it ig­nited his en­thu­si­asm to con­tinue on.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant we pro­vide that men­tor role to the younger peo­ple,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s the ex­pe­ri­ence that counts when it comes to the sorts of projects we do.

‘‘I per­son­ally find a great sense of achieve­ment.

‘‘When they can start to un­der­stand why they are do­ing things and other peo­ple are do­ing things and start to do it them­selves . . . I get a real buzz out of that.’’

Source: HR De­vel­op­ment at Work.

Source: SafeWork SA Work Life Bal­ance Strat­egy

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