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May 2019

Retirement. A concept of the past?

Blog posts

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

With our workplaces having experienced a rapid digital transformation, employees of today are nimble, multi-skilled and embrace a culture of rapid change with the ability to quickly learn how to use new adapting technologies. Not only are our workplaces more digitised, our workforce is getting older.

Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of MIT’s AgeLab and author of The Longevity Economy states;

“There may be other big shifts headed our way–related to climate change, say, or global geopolitics, or technological advancement–but their particulars are still up in the air. We can only speculate about how London will cope with sea-level rise, or Tokyo with self-driving cars. But we know exactly how global ageing will unfold.”

People are living longer

Professor Peter Gahan and Dr Joshua Healy, University of Melbourne explore the challenge and opportunity of an ageing workforce, where for the first time in history we are experiencing four generations working side-by-side.  The UN estimates that by 2050, one in three people across the developed world will be over 60. In Australia, one in four people is over 55 and within the next ten years this will rise to one in three. As this trend continues to shift towards an ageing population, the objective will be to prolong paid workforce participation and reduce the dependence of the non-working population on the working population to a manageable level.

The fact is that early retirement is not a dream scenario for everyone. Significant health and wellbeing benefits can be seen from those remaining actively involved in the workforce. We should support and encourage those who can and want to continue working. We should view our ageing workforce phenomenon as very positive given the higher level of experience, expertise and skill in our organisations. However, we do need to be across challenges of age bias in the workplace.

A diverse workforce is good for the individual, for business and for the wider economy and it is time we considered the skills and expertise that older workers bring to every organisation.

Professor Peter Gahan and Dr Joshua Healy further detail the psychological and cultural implications of our ageing workforce;

“Age is more complicated than chronological years. Organisations need to be transparent and ensure their recruitment and performance systems are fair and bias-free. Quality contact between generations has been shown to reduce negative perceptions and reduce intent to quit among older workers so providing opportunities for generations to work together is also vital.”

How are employees keeping up with rapid change in the workplace?

Given our ageing workforce, and the ongoing task of bridging gaps in required skills sits significantly around the topic of digitisation. ‘Understanding leadership in a digital age’ published by Kineo and The Oxford Group polled over 1000 employees in global organisations, closely observing the impact of technology on leaders and their teams and what we can be done to make improvements.

Organisations and older workers alike also benefit from elearning. It is an efficient, accessible and cost-effective method of workforce training that is more flexible than other traditional training methods. Elearning can also bridge the technological divide between younger and older generations in the workplace as part of an always-on learning pathway culture.

When incorporating elearning, engage younger workers without alienating older learners. Elearning systems should be intuitive and user-friendly. Anyone, regardless of their age, should be able to get on board with the tools and software, so it's important to ensure that both the elearning content and learning platform are set up well to accommodate the varying scales of need.

A good way to ensure learning materials are user-friendly, is to establish a clear orientation program. This includes providing older learners enough time to get acquainted with the supporting technologies. If everyone can learn at their own pace, they’re bound to better grasp the material.
Whereas Millenials' goals from work are to achieve a decent work/life balance, as well as be intellectually stimulated, workers aged over 50 want flexible working patterns, intellectual stimulation as well as financial impetus. These top three factors, according to Aviva’s consumer research, would encourage ageing Baby Boomers to stay in work longer than the state retirement age. In addition, a significant 88% feel they have more skills to offer than their younger counterparts.

We live in a vibrant and diverse society. Our organisations should reflect this well.

Take up Kineo’s elearning course trial for 14 days free of charge to appreciate how we can support your workplace learning, wherever you are in your stage of life and career. With hundreds of course titles from our library, covering almost every workplace topic, we have you covered.

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Since the year immemorial Sally has exercised an avid passion for creativity with words, images and Pilates.  She is most content in the workplace when crafting enticing messages that inspire and engage.