Are you ready for an encore career?

Are you ready for
an encore career?

Retirement was traditionally a time of leisure and relaxation, a welcome reward for a long and challenging career. However, our increasing life expectancy and improved health in later years is changing this expectation with many retirees harnessing their free time and energy to explore their passions.

Research by Jane Figgis for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows that retirement is becoming a period when people have the time to achieve significant personal goals. Figgis describes this period as an ‘encore career’ – a new direction in work that may be paid or unpaid and involve further education and training.

“The current retirement age (65 years) is an entirely arbitrary point in someone’s life,” Figgis said. “It was introduced in the 1880s in Germany, when average life expectancy was less than 50 years but it still defines our public and policy imagination world-wide.”

Figgis describes an encore career as a third age where people shift from focusing exclusively on work and family to self-fulfilment and community.

This focus on making a difference often moves people toward encore careers in the not-for-profit sector. There are over 600,000 not-for-profits and charities in Australia with a strong history of helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

They cover a range of disciplines including:

  • Health
  • Social services
  • Education
  • Sport and recreation
  • Arts and culture
  • Environment
  • Animal welfare
  • Human rights

Working with a not-for-profit gives you an opportunity to give back to your local community and see the impact of your work first-hand.

If you’d like to explore an encore career in the not-for-profit sector, visit

The rise of the seniorpreneur

An increasing number of older Australians are also launching new businesses in retirement. Senior entrepreneurs (seniorpreneurs for short) are Australia’s fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs, despite facing significant barriers including ageism and a lack of financial support.

Research from Swinburne University of Technology and Queensland University of Technology found:

  • 34% of all new companies in Australia are now led by seniorpreneurs
  • The average age of a seniorpreneur is 57
  • Seniorpreneurs work about five fewer hours than younger entrepreneurs each week and have almost double the industry experience.

The research also found seniorpreneurs invest $1.2 million more in their businesses than younger entrepreneurs. Their businesses also earn more than twice the profits.