Ageing Workforce Ready – supporting workers nearing retirement

Australia’s population is getting older. This is likely to create both challenges and opportunities for organisations. So significant are these changes, the CSIRO named the ageing workforce as one of 6 ‘megatrends’ in occupational health and safety over the next 20 years. Despite this, many Australian companies have been slow to engage with the realities of an ageing workforce. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has identified that over 175,000 previously retired people were either back at work or planning to return. Yet older workers often face negative stereotypes. This can have a significant impact on their experience in the workplace, creating stress and affecting their mental health.

Common stereotypes older workers face include:

  • They take more sick days
  • They’re more prone to workplace injuries
  • They don’t like or understand technology
  • They cost business more due to their experience.

AustralianSuper has partnered with workplace experts at Transitioning Well to investigate how to support older workers during their late careers and into retirement.

About Transitioning Well

Transitioning Well is a national organisation that works with forward-thinking companies to support people through a range of work-life transitions – including retirement. They provide a guide to assessing and improving practices within organisations.

In collaboration with AustralianSuper, it’s leading the Ageing Workforce Ready (AWR) project to promote the benefits of older workers to employers. It’s also testing initiatives that organisations from any industry can use to engage staff and boost their well-being.


The Ageing Workforce Ready project

AWR aims to improve the experiences of older workers by educating employers on the experiences of the ageing population during late career stages and as they move out of the paid workforce. The project is funded by WorkSafe Victoria’s WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund.

A pilot program running since 2019 has focused on 8 public transport workplaces. The industry was selected due to its reputation for retaining older workers.

Results show that in the public transport sector there are often ‘natural ramp-down’ practices, where roles may accommodate more flexibility by reducing bus drivers’ routes or hours, for example. However, project lead Rachael Palmer notes that these types of practices don’t suit every industry. 

She says managers who may not know how to approach older workers with discussions about retirement planning should avoid making assumptions about individual situations:   ‘Managers [often] don’t know how to have tough conversations.’  

The project has also shone a light on the need to upskill managers who may not ‘have a good handle on (an) ageing workforce’, despite the risks of losing valuable older workers. 

Rachael says she’s proud to be leading a project supporting older people in the workplace.

'Good work is good for all of us. Whether it’s paid or voluntary, meaningful work where people feel productive and valued (and not stressed) positively impacts both physical and mental health. Many employers need to be doing more to achieve this in the context of an ageing population.’

The findings will help to develop activities targeting human resource departments and executive decision makers.



Watch the video below to find out more about the Ageing Workforce Ready project by Transitioning Well and AustralianSuper.

What is the AWR Project?


Proud focus on the wellbeing of older workers

AustralianSuper’s Head of Growth, Vicky Maguire, says the Fund is proud to be supporting older Australians at work and in their transition to retirement:

‘Accelerated by the demographics of the country shifting towards older Australians, businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of inclusivity and adapting their practises accordingly. I am delighted that we are able to be part of designing solutions for employers to assist their older workers achieve dignity at work and when they retire.’

A review of policies and procedures will provide guidance on redesigning systems and processes to support ageing workers. Upskilling managers to support workers has many benefits. This includes more empowered employees, who will have the knowledge and resources to navigate the challenges and opportunities of late career.

Using AustralianSuper’s network, over 100,000 Victorian businesses will have access to the results of the project.

Retirement planning resources

AustralianSuper offers a range of free and paid retirement services, including on-demand webinars from our education team, general advice, and personal advice for a fee*.




* Personal financial product advice is provided under the Australian Financial Services Licence held by a third party and not by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd. Some personal advice may attract a fee, which would be outlined before any work is completed and is subject to your agreement. With your approval, the fee for advice relating to your AustralianSuper account(s) can be deducted from your AustralianSuper account.

This information may be general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision about AustralianSuper, you should think about your financial requirements and refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement available at or by calling 1300 300 273. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the TMDs at AustralianSuper Pty Ltd, ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898.

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