the magic number: Aussie workers want to retire at 57, but expect to work longer

the magic number: Aussie workers want to retire at 57, but expect to work longer

Aussies place importance on honest employers and competitive salary

Keeping employees engaged and productive past their intended retirement age is shaping up to be a major challenge for businesses, with the latest Randstad Award employer branding research showing that 57 is the ideal retirement age for most Australians, while only 28% of workers say they are happy to work past the age of 62.

In spite of these intentions, most Australians believe they’ll have to remain in the workforce until they are 63.

Speaking ahead of this year’s Randstad Award, (taking place on 10 April), where the most attractive employers in Australia will be announced, Steve Shepherd, Group Director of recruitment & HR specialists, Randstad, says this could be a major challenge in the future – keeping mature age workers satisfied, engaged and productive.

“The skills shortage in many sectors in Australia, combined with an ageing population means Australian businesses need to work on solutions which will attract, engage and retain mature workers within their organisation. It’s about keeping them motivated, challenged and happy at work – ensuring they are valued for their contribution to the organisation.

"It's important for employees of all age-groups, not just those of mature age, to discuss with their manager what they need at work in order to be the most productive, and then it’s vital for organisations to offer the right support, conditions and benefits to effectively meet those needs.

"It could mean offering flexible working arrangements to enjoy a good work/life balance; the opportunity to consult internally or head-up projects; the opportunity to conduct or receive coaching, mentoring or other learning and developing programs. What’s important is that workplaces have a variety of benefits available to employees of all age groups, which will attract, engage, develop and retain them over the long-term," says Shepherd.

Interestingly, Randstad’s research sheds light on some of the workplace incentives which will help ensure the continued engagement and productivity of Australians working past their ideal retirement age. Just under half (44%) of local employees say a more relaxed working schedule would be a key motivator to keep working later in life, while 38% listed adaptable working hours as a key determinant and 33% noted a more friendly working atmosphere could entice them to stay.

“When looking at mature age employees, it’s clear that many crave flexibility in working hours and responsibilities, and organisations need to work on solutions that meet the needs of employees and the business,” says Shepherd.

"With five generations in the workforce at the same time, HR strategies need to appeal to both older and younger workers, motivating them to perform at their best, while encouraging collaboration to achieve a shared vision and a shared goal. Businesses which fail to do this may risk losing top talent to the market, which could mean your main competitor.”

And aside from understanding the criteria which encourage employees to remain in the workforce, organisations also need to understand what attracts potential employees to their business.

The top five most important factors for Australians when choosing an employer are: competitive salary and benefits, according to 61% of more than 9,500 respondents; long-term job security (55%); pleasant working environment (50%); good work-life balance (47%) and interesting job content (41%).

Randstad Award: The top 5 attributes Australians look for in an employer are:


Top 5 attributes

2014 (%)


Competitive salary & employee benefits



Long-term job security



Pleasant working atmosphere



Good work-life balance



Interesting job content


The Randstad Award employer branding research also highlights the characteristics which Australian workers value most when looking for a new employer. Four in five (80%) listed honesty as the most desirable trait in a potential employer, closely followed by reliability (71%) and security (61%).

“With companies often competing for the same talent, the more insights an organisation has into what potential employees find attractive, the easier it can be to align recruitment and employer branding strategies to successfully appeal to these groups, giving you the competitive edge.

"Much like people, companies have characteristics and qualities which form the basis of its image, brand and reputation. To be as appealing as possible to potential employees, organisations need to promote these defining characteristics through every aspect of its marketing, communication, HR and employer branding strategies,” says Shepherd.

Randstad Award: The top 5 personality traits Australians look for in an employer are:


Top 5 personality traits

2014 (%)











Well respected





The search for Australia’s most attractive employer in 2014

The Randstad Award, which will reveal the most attractive commercial and government employers in Australia will be announced at a gala event at Doltone House, Sydney on Thursday, 10th April.

Social commentator and regular on ABC TV’s The Gruen Transfer will MC the event, which will be attended by Randstad’s global CEO & Chairman, Mr Jacques Van Den Broek, as well as senior executives from Australia’s largest 150 companies including Qantas, Westpac, ABC, Coca-Cola Amatil, Nestle, NSW Health, NSW Treasury, PWC, NRMA and Virgin Australia. 

The Randstad Award is totally unique in this market as it’s based on public perception – over 9,500 Australians of working age. Organisations are unable to nominate themselves or determine categories or criteria for entry as it’s based on the largest 150 employers in Australia, by employee size.

First launched in Belgium in 2000, the Randstad Awards will be hosted in 23 countries around the world including, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Spain and the Netherlands capturing the perceptions of 200,000 potential jobseekers. 
Posted: Saturday, 12 July 2014 - 4:45 PM