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Marjorie O'Neill

First Name: Majorie
Surname: O'Neill
Department Dept of Marketing and Management
Supervisor(s): Dr Denise Jepsen , Professor Laurence Ang

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Paper Title

Understanding the careers of older health workers


The aim of this research is to understand the career choices of older workers. While there is significant research about retirement, there is a lack of literature and research concerning older worker careers, in particular those who are continuing to work, rather than retire. This research seeks to not only understand the career choices that older workers are making around retirement, but also to expand and modernise theory in the area of late life careers.

Key literature/theoretical perspective

Nonlinear career orientation (Hall, 1996; Mainiero & Sullivan, 2005) and Supers’ theory of life roles (Super, 1980).


A multi-method approach consisting of two phases: qualitative and quantitative data collection.


Phase one interview’s found that while individuals wish to continue working and delay retirement individuals are likely to seek jobs that allow them to engage with their other life roles, in particular leisure. Qualitative findings also suggest that duel carer and dependent responsibilities have a direct impact on the career choices of older workers. The phase two survey confirm and refute the phase one findings.

Research limitations/implications

This research hopes to expand and modernise late life careers theory, allowing us to predict and explain behaviour.

Practical and Social implications

Australia like much of the developed world is faced with an ageing population. If organisations wish to retain this talent they need to understand the changing needs of older worker.


Older workers, Late life careers, Nonlinear career orientation