What Drives Pensioners Back to Work?


National Seniors Australia has completed a preliminary analysis of its 2022 National Seniors Social Survey, which shows that many pensioners are prepared to go back to work.

The survey of 3,937 older Australians included 1,249 survey respondents aged over 67 years old who receive the Age Pension or expect to.

The survey results showed 20 per cent of these pensioners would consider re-entering paid work after retiring, while another 16 per cent of them had already done so. Income was a primary motivation for many, with 60 per cent saying that money worries were a reason for seeking paid work. This can be compared with 46 per cent of non-pensioners who said they were motivated by the need or desire to earn money.

But money isn’t the only reason older Australians want to work. Many, motivated by a public spirit, want to work to support the nation, while others expressed the view that they want to help with workforce shortages caused by COVID19.

Yet, as pointed out by Professor John McCallum, National Seniors’ CEO and Director of Research, restrictions on what pensioners can earn before they lose pension income remain a major barrier. “Many seniors are struggling to make ends meet on the pension, but the pension rules are a strong disincentive to do paid work. This traps pensioners at low quality of life including too many in poverty.

“The nation is crying out for workers in so many industries including aged care. Allowing pensioners to work would help these industries, the pensioners, and the Australian economy,” said Professor McCallum.

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