Guest comment: Most financiers will work past 60

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Banking has traditionally been an industry in which people retire young. But an early exit is increasingly out of reach, says Nick Deligiannis, senior regional director of Hays Banking.

Ask people if they are looking forward to retiring and you usually receive an overwhelming and unwavering response of 'Yes.' Yet ask people when they expect to retire and the response is not so certain.

We recently asked over 1,300 professionals from the banking sector if they expected to work full-time past 60. In a surprising result, 47 per cent said they expected to work full-time past 60, while 35 per cent expected to work part-time or in contract work from time to time. Just 18 per cent were looking forward to retiring.

For banking employers, this is very positive news given the aging population. Specialist skills are in demand and due to the aging workforce, employers will come to rely on mature skills in the future. Luckily many candidates obviously plan to contribute to the workforce past 60 and their experience and skills will make them an invaluable asset to any employer.

The 34 per cent who say they will work part-time or in contracts will also be a highly utilised resource for employers who have flexible working options. Flexible staffing options are slowly becoming more common, and we expect employers who haven't previously considered flexible staffing solutions will start to look at this option in the near future as the workforce matures.

We can't forget that in the next decade 80 per cent of growth in the workforce will come from people over 45 years of age - without sufficient skilled workers, many businesses will have difficulty in maintaining their current level of output, let alone expanding, and so employers will need to do all they can to open them to this wider base of skilled, reliable and disciplined candidates.

The survey was conducted on www.hays.com.au in September/October 2006. 1,378 people completed the survey.

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