Report urges over-50s to prepare for career change

MOST older Australian workers are not planning for their careers in later life, only updating their skills at "crisis points" such as job loss or health problems, a new report shows.

The National Seniors' report, released on Thursday, showed almost four out of five workers aged 50 or older had either never, or "not recently", spent time planning their careers.

The finding comes despite the retirement age being set to rise to 70 in coming years and calls from Treasurer Joe Hockey for older workers to be prepared to contribute for longer.

The report showed most older workers were not investing the same amount of time or energy in career planning as school leavers or university graduates.

From more than 1800 responses to a survey on work and career planning, only 34% said career planning was very important or somewhat important to their quality of life. Half of those surveyed said it was not important.

The chief executive of National Seniors, Michael O'Neill, said the report showed many were only reacting to "crisis points, such as job loss or ill health".

"But planning is vital for broadening work options, improving salary and extending working lives," he said.

Mr O'Neill said when older Australians lost a job, a career change or training could save them from the dole queue.

The report also found 28% of respondents felt they did not need to be in paid or unpaid work and 18% believed career planning would not help them.

Mr O'Neill said older workers were often focused on their retirement finances, housing and health.

But he said it was still important to know how to map out a new career path or update their skills in case their retirement plans went awry.


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