Managing an ageing workforce

| May 9, 2013

Ahead of the Global Access Partners conference on Productive Ageing Peter Fritz asks some important questions in regard to working after the age of 65 and how best to prepare for participation of older workers.  

When we talk about productive aging, the usual picture that emerges in one’s mind is someone 65, and, if a woman, 60 and over, the fixed ages of retirement.

Having left a productive or not so productive working life behind, they are now faced with the prospect of what is effectively having a new life and being a new person.

One who fits the stereotype of an older person, having arrived at 65 a little while ago, I can say there was no difference in how I felt from 65 minus one day to 65 plus one day. In-fact there was no big deal, there was no transition of any sort. I turned up at my desk just the same as I turned up to my desk for 42 years before. But there was probably one difference, and that was that the realisation for many people, that 65 is a watershed moment. I imagine if that is the case, then preparing for change is too late when the change occurs.

This made me think of my children, who, like myself some decades ago have no forward vision, no fast forward to what happens in the so- called old age. Reading the Australian Bureau of Statistics definition of old age being 45, I felt somewhat in limbo for I did not realise that for 20 years, I had in-fact been old.

So what can we do? If there is to be a change, which is called retirement, what is one to do with the sudden realisation that you have most of the 24 hours of waking time unfilled by the routine that one got used to over the years?

Can we actually have role models or should we have mentors preparing us for the change, or have we got jobs that we can continue in, with no interruption till death if you wish to. If there is going to be such a significant change at an arbitrary day like the 65th birthday shouldn’t we have prepared for that better in the years past?

I think these are important questions and they are essential not only for the individual but for the community one lives with and in, one’s family and the nation.

It is because of these thoughts that we at Global Access Partners and the Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR) decided to set the ball rolling with a Conference on Productive Ageing, to be held at NSW Parliament House on 17 May 2013.

As a personal note, I just passed 70 and I still have no plan for managing for my future although now I know that I should have. For the time being I intend to continue to do what I have done for the last 70 years, health permitting. 


Peter Fritz AM is Managing Director of Global Access Partners, and Group Managing Director of TCG – a diverse group of companies which over the last 40 years has produced many breakthrough discoveries in computer and communication technologies. He chairs a number of influential government and private enterprise boards and is active in the international arena, including having represented Australia on the OECD Small and Medium Size Enterprise Committee.