Australia’s top retailers have welcomed the Federal Government’s appointment of Ambassador for Mature Age Employment Susan Ryan AO to the newly created position and are encouraged by the government’s focus on increasing workforce participation of mature workers to lift Australia’s productivity.

Retail Council chief executive Anna McPhee says the retail sector has an important role to play in unlocking the potential of our mature age workforce and encourage participation as Australia’s population ages.

“The retail sector is an important generator of jobs for mature workers and is the fourth largest employer of Australians aged over 55,” she says. “In the past decade retail has experienced a 50 per cent increase in mature age workers.

“Today’s appointment of an Ambassador for Mature Age Employment highlights the government’s commitment and demonstrates the importance of unlocking the potential of and mobilising our ageing workforce whilst ensuring suitable employment opportunities are available as population ages.

McPhee believes the retail sector has an important role to play in providing and creating jobs for Australia’s ageing population and has been working for many years to ensure new roles are created to support the changing workforce demographic.

“More than half (605,000) retail jobs are part-time roles providing flexibility for a modern workforce as fundamental shifts in work patterns take place, where participation increases are being led by part-time employment and delayed retirement.

“Retail is a significant employer of mature workers seeking part-time work as they transition to retirement with approximately one in eight retail workers are mature aged employees (168,000) – with the figure expected to grow significantly in the coming decade,” she adds.