As the saying goes, age is just a number. And for a surprising number of Australians, hitting 60 doesn’t necessarily mean retirement just yet. Before the “baby boomers”, for generations an agriculture and manufacturing-based society meant that working past 60 took a considerable toll on the body. However, nowadays with many positions being office-based (or even home-based, with the advent of COVID working from home policies) the opportunities to extend one’s career past 60 is both financially advantageous and much easier to accomplish.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in November of 2020 there were still 616,000 Australians over 65 in the workforce. Compare that with data from 4 decades ago, when that figure was only 90,000 and the upward trend is clear.
With the pension age set to rise to 67 by 2023, working longer may be a foregone conclusion for many older Australians. However, apart from the advantages of being able to continue both earning a wage and additional superannuation contributions, for many Australians over 60 working provides valuable mental stimulation and a sense of purpose.
Below are 5 different options that would suit Australians over 60.
Retail and Hospitality Assistants
Retail and hospitality positions offer a fair amount of flexibility - something that many over 60s would find more approachable than full time employment. If you’re up for a fast-paced position, most large shopping centres will have a few vacant positions available at different storefronts at a time.
Keep in mind that stores often hire retail assistants that match who they think their target demographic is - if you’re applying to a store that caters almost entirely to teenage girls you’re unlikely to succeed. However, this rule does not apply unilaterally. For example, stores catering to very young children or expecting parents would have more flexible hiring policies. The rule of thumb is that if you can see yourself as a customer of that store, you’re in a better position than if the differences between yourself and the target market are too great.
Most applications for bigger companies are completed online these days, whereas small businesses are likely to still accept a printed resume.
If you are new to the retail space, a short course such as the Certificate I in Retail Services could give you the numerical and interpersonal skill set required to confidently enter the industry.
Film / TV extra
Being a film / TV extra is one of the most accessible entries into the entertainment industry. It can be as easy as being a background actor with no lines and limited screen time, or involve a few short lines. As with the role itself, the rates and hours can vary, but basic training can often be provided for the right candidate. The roles are usually on a casual basis, which may be suitable for those wanting a few hours or days of work per week.
Plus, as an extra you’d have insider knowledge of how a real film or TV production works, the chance to be a part of something exciting and work with people you never would have crossed paths with otherwise. Being an extra comes with no predetermined list of physical attributes. No experience is needed either, just sign up with a talent agency as an extra via a job board and… action!
Administrative / Clerical work
Depending on the business, part-time and casual Administrative or Clerical positions often have a low barrier to entry. Basic understanding of computers and common software packages, a knack for organisation and a helpful demeanour are often all you need for this kind of role. Some industries may prefer that their administrative staff have more specialised knowledge, for example: administrators working in the medical field.
If you have retired from a particular industry, you can leverage your years of experience in an administrative capacity. Common tasks will include answering emails and telephone calls, organising schedules and maintaining records. Having a qualification like a Certificate III in Business (Administration) can equip you with the skills you need in this field.
The COVID pandemic has created a huge demand for Pathology Collectors - people who collect swabs at COVID testing centres. However, normal phlebotomist duties also consist of collecting blood samples from patients and getting them ready to be sent for analysis. This is a role that is of great benefit to the community now, and could provide consistent fulltime, part time or casual work. In this role you’ll have the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life and provide excellent care to patients. Best of all, this role only requires a qualification like a Certificate III in Pathology Collection and excellent interpersonal skills.
Pet Sitting / Dog Walking
Pet sitting and dog walking are two easy ways to make some extra money. Many people prefer having pet sitters rather than using kennels or catteries, as it allows their pets to remain in a familiar environment. Nowadays, there are websites and apps to connect pet owners and pet minders.
Pet sitting might involve living in the pet owners’ home, or just having access to the house to feed and exercise the pet. A dog walker might walk one or more dogs simultaneously - a good way to both earn extra money and engage in light exercise all year round!
This final option may seem daunting, but the Australian government has numerous initiatives available for Australians aged 45+ to retrain. These include the Career Transition Assistance (CTA) program and the Skills and Training Incentive. These programs can assist you in leveraging skills you already have to transition to careers adjacent to one you’ve had in the past, or an entirely different role.
Eligible candidates can receive up to $2,200 in funding to retrain in areas of demand. The Australian JobOutlook site predicts that the four biggest areas of demand in the next few years will be:
Your golden years needn’t be the end of your career - even at a more relaxed pace you can still find plenty of occupations that can be both financially and personally rewarding.