On-demand jobs: A lifeline for older workers

On-demand jobs: A lifeline for older workers

It will come as no surprise to learn that the nature of work is changing, and changing fast. A recent report released by The Centre of Future Work states that less than half of employed Australians now hold a standard, full-time job with leave entitlements.

While this may lead to growing insecurity for some, the on-demand sharing economy is opening up new opportunities for older workers. This is particularly true for those looking for the benefits of a part-retirement –to supplement their income and at the same time having the freedom and flexibility for leisure activities.

Bob migrated to Australia in 2012, to join his daughter and her family who had been living here for more than 20 years. At the time he was an active, healthy 70-year old, ready to step into the workforce to build up his retirement funds and establish new networks.

After months of applying for roles with limited success, he realised that he was going to need to re-assess his approach and the type of work he wanted to do. It was then that Bob, who had worked in the insurance sector previously, decided to trial Uber driving.

Initially Bob wasn’t confident using the app, but with the help of his family, he soon got the hang of it. He now drives several hours a day, five days a week and gets to fit in a game of golf when he wants. 

His career in the insurance industry equipped him with transferable skills and he’s applied these to provide excellent client service with a close-to-perfect driver rating on the more than 400 trips he’d done since he started driving. He is meeting interesting people and the positive feedback and high ratings through the app has been a real motivator. 

 While Bob is not earning at the same level he would working in the formal sector, the benefits of being his own boss and the freedom to work when he wants, far outweighs the negatives.

The Australian Government is staring to develop programs to support older workers and providing resources and information. But with more Australians needing to stay in the workforce for longer, on-demand jobs are often a lifeline for older workers.

This story is a guest post from Theresa Lintvelt who is an observer of culture, social trends and technology and a marketing executive by day.    

*Names have been changed. 

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