Creating their own job: self-employment in later life

Valerie Caines

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


For older workers, self-employment is an important alternative to waged employment. Challenges related to age-related discrimination often motivate older workers to create their own ‘employment’. Unsurprisingly, older individuals becoming first time entrepreneurs is becoming more common and it is likely that over time more older people will become entrepreneurs as they transition between fulltime work and self-employment because of significant structural changes to the workforce. However, advancing age is generally considered to be a barrier to entrepreneurship because of diminishing available time, the negative influence of age-related stereotypes and the opportunity cost of failure. Additionally, older people becoming entrepreneurs may violate social norms and garner social disapproval. This raises the question of who would be interested to become an entrepreneur in later life? Selected findings from two studies of older workers’ (S1: n=174, mean age = 52.5; S2: n=598, mean age = 54.1) interest in self-employment will be presented. Specifically, the presentation will explore social cognitive factors which influence interest in self-employment. Discussion will include practical suggestions for the development of policies and programs to support older people to remain economically active through self-employment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2019
EventSouth Australian Gerontology Conference, 2019 - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 21 Jun 201921 Jun 2019


ConferenceSouth Australian Gerontology Conference, 2019


  • elderly
  • employment
  • self-employment


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