It cuts both ways: You may already have managed someone old enough to be your grandfather, but sooner or later, according to recent research, you’ll be supervised by a friend of your granddaughter.

A report from Suncorp Superannuation released in late 2013, titled Rise of the Grudge Workforce, found that a quarter of Baby Boomers (some 1.3 million) have insufficient funds to retire and will be forced to work into their eighties just to continue to make ends meet. According to the report, only one in five Baby Boomers have saved enough to retire to this point, and 52% will be working beyond the official retirement age of 65.

Superannuation industry advisor Peter Gebert responds, “If you happen to be over 55 and hoping to be in the 48% at 65 not working, remember there is a Transition to Retirement option that might help you. Make sure you obtain the appropriate advice from your Fund to put this in place.”

Whenever I’ve been to the US in the last 10 years, it’s struck me how many more older workers there are in the US than in Australia. Come to think of it, other than at Bunnings stores around Australia, I rarely see older workers en masse.

So when I fly within the US, shop retail or check in to hotels and restaurants it’s more common to experience more wrinkles than hair serving me.  The wave of the greying workforce in the US was memorable enough for me to recall recently when I read Suncorp’s Rise of the Grudge Workforce paper.

And in light of the silent ageism that still creeps into Australians’ hiring decisions, it’s likely that there will be a seismic shift in the coming decade. The so-called Grudge Workforce is likely to bring quality experience combined with modest salary expectations and a strong will to stay employed, equating to a very attractive hiring option.

I would forecast, based on the US experience and our underfunded ageing population, that we’ll soon experience the same greying workforce in Australia.

What’s your Point of View?

Geoff Slade

(no grudges, still loving work)

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