Aussies retiring later in life to boost personal wealth

THE promise of a wealthy retirement, not just an aged pension, is one of the factors leading to more Australians working longer and later in life, an Australian National University demographer says.

The ANU's Professor Peter McDonald will speak about work and changes in employment rates in an address in Canberra on Friday.

Prof McDonald has analysed the results of the 2006 and 2011 Censuses, to look at changes in employment rates for people older than 50.

He said a social change, not policy intervention, was the key driver behind the shift to later-life employment.

"People are starting work later in life, so they are retiring later. People are also having children later, so often they hit 60 and they are still supporting their kids," he will say.

"In the past, older Australians had been happy with owning their own house and getting the age pension, but I think the next generation wants more than that.

"This is brought about by the superannuation revolution and that there is a chance of getting more than the age pension."

Prof McDonald also found strong rises in employment among Australia's most disadvantaged, including people with disabilities and those with poor English skills.

The research showed a six percentage point rise in the employment rate of men aged 55-59 years and a 7% rise for men aged 60-64 years from 2006 to 2011.

Men aged 65-69 and 70-74 years also increased by about five percentage points each.

Women experienced the highest spikes, with more than a 10 percentage point jump in the employment rate for women between the ages of 55 and 64.

The rise also continued for women aged 65-69, increasing by six percentage points in the six-year period.

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