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Curtin University
Research
Centre for Research in Applied Economics (CRAE)

Missing workers: Retaining mature age women workers to ensure future labour security

Summary

This project provides a detailed understanding of the factors that promote or hinder mature age women’s retention in paid work. Drawing on emerging themes in feminist economics, the project contributes to the development of a new model of employment decision making by mature age women. It has also generated an innovative database that have enabled international comparisons of the factors affecting the retention of mature age women in paid work. Women aged 45+ are a crucial component of Australia’s future labour supply. An understanding of the barriers to their retention in the workforce is necessary for the development of policy to ensure that critical community needs, such as aged care, can be met.

Final Report

To view the final report, please click here.

Publications and Presentations

Austen, Siobhan (2014), ‘Work Ability, Age and Intention to Leave Aged Care Work’, presentation to the Australian Association of Gerontology workshop on Older Women Aged Care, February 11 2014, Perth.

Jefferson, Therese (2014), ‘Dirty Work and Pay Outcomes in the Australian Aged Care Sector’, presentation to the Australian Association of Gerontology workshop on Older Women in Aged Care, February 11 2014, Perth.

Sharp, Rhonda (2014), ‘Missing Workers: Retaining Mature Age Women Workers to Ensure Future Labour Security: Project Overview’, presentation to the Australian Association of Gerontology workshop on Older Women in Aged Care, February 11 2014, Perth.

Austen, Siobhan; Jefferson, Therese; Sharp, Rhonda; Ong, Rachel and Lewin, Gill (2013), ‘Misrecognition and Maldistribution: The Case of Aged Care Workers’, 12th Conference of the Australian Society of Heterodox Economists, University of New South Wales, Sydney, December 2013.

Jefferson, Therese; Austen, Siobhan; Ong, Rachel; Sharp, Rhonda; Lewin, Gill and Adams, Valerie (2013), ‘Dirty Work and Maldistribution in Aged Care Work’, 12th Conference of the Australian Society of Heterodox Economists University of New South Wales, Sydney, December 2013.

Adams, Valerie and Sharp, Rhonda (2013) 'Reciprocity in Caring Labor: Nurses’ Work in Residential Aged Care in Australia', Feminist Economics, Volume 19, Number 2, 100-121.

Austen, Siobhan and Ong, Rachel (2013), ''The Effects of Ill-Health and Informal Care Roles on the Employment Retention of Mid-Life Women: Does the Workplace Matter?', Journal of Industrial Relations, 55(5), 663-380.

Austen, Siobhan; Jefferson, Therese; Sharpe, Rhonda; Ong, Rachel and Lewin, Gill (2013), ‘Recognition, Redistribution and Esteem: the Case of Aged Care Workers’, 12th Conference of the Australian Society of Heterodox Economists.

Austen, Siobhan; Ong, Rachel; Jefferson, Therese; Sharpe, Rhonda and Lewin, Gill (2013), ‘Missing Workers: Retaining Mature Age Women Workers to Ensure Future Labour Security’, eS4W Forum on the Care Economy Sydney.

Jefferson, Therese; Austen, Siobhan; Ong, Rachel; Sharpe, Rhonda and Lewin, Gill (2013), ‘Mixed Methods Research in the Aged Care Sector’, AIRAANZ 27th Annual Conference.

Lewin, Gill; Austen, Siobhan; Jefferson, Therese; Ong, Rachel; Sharp, Rhonda and Adams, Valerie (2013), ‘Mature Aged Workers’ Intention to Leave Aged Care’, Australian Association of Gerontology 46th National Conference Grey Expectations: Ageing in the 21st Century, 17-29 November, Sydney.

Austen, Siobhan; Lewin, Gill; Jefferson, Therese; Ong, Rachel; Sharp, Rhonda and Adams, Valerie (2013), ‘The Physical Demands of Aged Care Work and Workers’ Intention to Leave’, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSWA) Conference Talkin' About Your Generation, May 9-10, Perth.

Austen, Siobhan; Ong, Rachel; McMurray, Clinton and Lewin, Gill (2013), 'Retaining workers in an ageing population: insights from a representative aged and community care organisation', Australasian Journal on Aging, Volume 32, Number 1, 41-46.

Jefferson, Therese; Austen, Siobhan; Sharp, Rhonda; Ong, Rachel; Lewin, Gill and Adams, Valerie (2013), ‘Planning and implementing a mixed methods research project: A study of aged care workers’ employment retention, Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) 27th Conference Work, Employment and Employment Relations in an Uneven Patchwork World, 6-8 February, Fremantle, WA.

Austen, Siobhan; Jefferson, Therese; Lewin, Gill; Ong, Rachel; Sharp, Rhonda and Adams, Valerie (2012), Submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry into Commonwealth Legal Barriers to Older Persons Participating in the Workforce or Other Productive Work’, 30 November.

Lewin, Gill; Austen, Siobhan; Jefferson, Therese; Ong, Rachel and Sharp, Rhonda (2012), ‘Mature age workers’ intention to leave aged care’, Australian Association of Gerontology 45th National Conference Ageing: Challenging the Boundaries, 21-23 November, Brisbane.

Austen, Siobhan and Jefferson, Therese (2012), 'Plain Old Disrespect: Explorations of Recognition and Intrinsic Motivation in Care Work', International Association for Feminist Economics Annual Conference Human Well-Being for the 21st Century: Weaving Alliances from Feminist Economics, Barcelona, Spain, 27-29 June.

Austen, Siobhan and Jefferson, Therese (2012), 'Intersections in Australian Research: Older Workers, women’s labour supply and paid work in aged care', 26th AIRAANZ Conference 2012, Gold Coast, February 8-10th, Refereed Published Papers (ISBN 978-0-9806085-4-0)

Adams, Valerie and Sharp, Rhonda (2011), Reciprocity: The Case of Aged Care Nurses' Work, in Chester, L., Johnson, M. and Kriesler, P. (eds), Conference Proceedings: 10th Australian Society of Heterodox Economists Conference: Heterodox Economics: Ten Years and Growing Stronger!, Sydney AU, 5-6 December, pp. 1-14

Austen, Siobhan (2011), 'Over 45 and Working in Aged Care', International Association for Feminist Economics Annual Conference Reorienting Economic Theory, Policies, and Institutions: Feminist Perspectives in the Aftermath of the Global Economic Crisis, Hangzhou, China, 24-26 June.

Summary of Survey Data

Austen, Siobhan; Jefferson, Therese; Lewin, Gill; Ong, Rachel and Sharp, Rhonda (2013), 'Mature age women aged care workers: Summary of survey data (Wave1)'.

Austen, S., Jefferson, T., Lewin, G., Ong, R., and Sharp, R. (2014). ‘Mature Age Women Aged Care Workers: Summary of Stayers’ Survey Data (Wave2)’, Curtin University, Perth.

Austen, S., Jefferson, T., Lewin, G., Ong, R., and Sharp, R. (2014). ‘Mature Age Women Aged Care Workers: Summary of Leavers’ Survey Data (Wave2)’, Curtin University, Perth.

Funding and support

In addition to ARC funding, this project was supported by Curtin University and the University of South Australia.