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News and Views

Coming of Age: The impacts of an ageing workforce on New Zealand business

The government is well aware that New Zealand’s aging population creates a macro-economic imperative for people to participate in the labour force for longer.

As people are living longer, and younger people are entering the workforce later, pressure on those supporting the upper and lower ends of the age demographic is increasing.

In 2012, fifty percent of the New Zealand labour force was older than 42 years of age, compared to 36 years in 1991 and 39 years in 2001.

Our research found that older workers have a strong drive to work, as well as a growing financial imperative to do so following the blow to their savings during the GFC.

For Coming of Age: the impacts of an ageing workforce on New Zealand business, OCG surveyed 56 senior businesspeople and 864 New Zealand jobseekers on the advantages and challenges of increased mature worker participation. We sought to understand which industries are at greatest risk of skills shortages as a large body of skilled employees transition to retirement, and what employers are doing about it.

The impetus for this report is to understand views and behaviours towards an aging workforce from a microeconomic viewpoint. This report therefore focuses on the views of three core groups:
1. Employers
2. Older workers themselves
3. The younger workforce