As the government considers raising the age requirement for the pension, the obvious question arises - what will be done to help mature workers remain in the workforce for longer?  Will the government consider offering subsidies to employers to encourage the retention of older workers?  Will there be sufficient jobs available in the right locations and the right sectors to cater for older workers who must work longer? Will re-training for older workers be offered?

What will be done to help combat ageist attitudes which prevent the continued employment of older workers or discriminate against their recruitment?  What about older workers who are made redundant, or whose health prevents them from working longer - will other benefits be available to support people unable to work longer?

According to ABS statistics, there has already been a 40% increase in the number of Australian workers aged over 60 since the GST, and presumably many more seniors will choose to hang on to their jobs for as long as possible.  This includes a big increase in the number of older women in the workforce, and there are many questions around how the employment market can better support these changes to traditional career paths and trends, and what they mean in terms of financial security (or lack thereof) for babyboomers and seniors.

It's important to make sure any development of new government policies regarding the age pension does address these related workforce and employment issues, and the Productive Ageing Centre with National Seniors Australia has produced a series of relevant research reports.

A topical new report has now been released:

"Past, Present and Future of Mature Age Labour Force Participation in Australia: How Do Regions Differ?"

The report examines long-term trends, current patterns and future projections of mature age labour force participation in Australia, with a focus on regional differences. It shows that there have been strong increases in mature age employment in recent years, particularly among females. Presently, mature age labour force participation is highest in Western Australia and the ACT but is lowest in Tasmania and South Australia. Also, full-time employment by mature age people is more common in capital cities than non-metropolitan areas. The report projects that the ageing of the population will slow labour supply growth throughout Australia, most significantly in Tasmania and South Australia, and highlights the need for governments, industry and employers to hasten strategies to support participation of mature age people in the labour force.

An earlier report was released in January 2014:

"Working Beyond 65 - What's Realistic? The Influence of Health on Longer Working Lives."