Against a backdrop of population ageing and with it concerns about the future funding of social welfare systems and availability of labour there is increasing public policy interest in pushing out the final age of labour market withdrawal. Australian research also indicates that there is interest among employers in how to manage their ageing workforces. While there is a substantial recent body of literature concerned with workforce ageing this has yet to be thoroughly distilled for practical purposes. This paper considers the recent literature on older workers’ employment from the perspective of what can be learned that will inform the employment practices of Australian business. The report focuses on areas considered critical to the management of an ageing workforce: workplace culture; leadership; individual development; job design; health and well-being; financial and career planning. The report takes a critical stance, noting, for instance, that some of the management literature that purports to help increase employer capacity to respond well to workforce ageing is simplistic and unsupported by a solid evidence base and therefore unlikely to be very effective. Nonetheless, useful lessons for employer practice are identified.

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This Working Paper was produced by the CSIRO-Monash Superannuation Research Cluster a collaboration between the CSIRO and Monash University, the University of Western Australia, Griffith University and the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. In addition, the Cluster engages on an ongoing basis with a range of industry supporters, government agencies and industry peak bodies who assist in providing guidance and feedback to researchers, providing data, and in disseminating outcomes. The purpose of the Super Research Cluster is to examine issues pertaining to the future of Australia’s superannuation and retirement systems.