The Value Of Age

“I returned post-retirement to contracting with my previous employer.”
Quote from Respondent

In the professional contracting sector, age and experience are appreciated far more than they are in traditional employment sectors. High-skilled independent contractors typically make their entrance into, and exit from, the job market approximately 10 years later than employees. The value of experience is evident in daily rates that become progressively higher with age. The highest daily rates are charged by independent contractors who are 60 years of age or older. However, the benefits associated with age in this sector are not only financial with high levels of satisfaction in life and work also reported in the statistics below.

These findings are important because they highlight how independent contracting can be an extremely valuable career option for older high-skilled workers who may feel undervalued in traditional employment sectors. Furthermore, it suggests that there is immense untapped potential among those over 60 who can bring significant value to the economy at a time when many are being forced into retirement. As we face a national pension crisis, these results indicate that creating a more conducive environment for older high-skilled independent contractors could potentially offer part of a solution. We should embrace this workforce and recognise the immense value that experienced workers have to offer.

Age Breakdown

Average Daily Rate By Age

From the table it is evident that there is a significant premium that comes with age and that experience is highly valued in the contracting sector, the average difference between, the average daily rate of those 29 and below, and those 60 and above, over the 4 years of this research is 44%

Average Annual Earnings By Age

Work Experience By Age

81% of contractors 60 years and over expressed satisfaction with their life in general.


Older contractors report a high level of well-being recording the lowest instances of “burnout” and ‘loneliness’ compared to younger independent contractors.

Job Satisfaction

81% of contractors 60 years and over expressed satisfaction with their life in general. Older independent contractors also have the highest job satisfaction scores of all high-skilled workers, with 89% of those aged 60 or older expressing high satisfaction with the work itself.

Confidence Index

Contractors 60 and over have a positive outlook towards the future of the contracting sector for the next 3-5 years, with a reported confidence index score of +26, this is slightly below the 2023 confidence score of +29, but still signifies strong confidence in the sector’s trajectory. When asked about the future performance of the Irish economy in 2024, contractors aged 60 and above were also positive, resulting in a confidence index score of +17. This positive economic forecast reflects their belief in the continued viability of the contracting sector, reinforcing the argument for a more supportive environment that can leverage their expertise for both the good of the economy and wider society.

The Contracting Sector

Confidence Index

29 & Below 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60 & Above
2024 +42 +30 +34 26 +26
2023 +50 +29 +30 31 +29
2022 +38 +41 +41 +38 +32
2021 +3 +4 +1 +11 +21

The Irish Economy

Confidence Index

29 & Below 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60 & Above
2024 +29 +19 +14 +14 +17
2023 +20 +5 +6 +11 +13
2022 26 34 38 41 41
2021 27 29 30 30 32


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  • Job Satisfaction
  • Wellbeing of Contractors