Challenges and Opportunities of New Zealand’s Ageing Workforce Commission for financial Capability, june 21 2016

Whose responsibility is it to address the ageing workforce?

The number of New Zealanders working past 65 is on the rise but a new survey has found most businesses are not geared up for the changing workforce.

It found 83% have no policies or strategies in place for workers aged over 50. And it doesn’t matter what sort of work they do: the results for those engaged in manual work, such as farming and forestry, were no different to those in manufacturing or the service sector.

The survey found more than two thirds (69%) of the 500 businesses agree that there’s a shortage of highly experienced workers in their industry. And a similar proportion (70%) are concerned about losing skills and experience when older workers retire.

On June 21st, The Commission for Financial Capability brought together speakers from across NZ and from abroad to investigate what other countries are doing to make the most of their ageing workforces; identify the challenges and opportunities that New Zealand is facing; and address the social and economic implications of working past 65.

Diane Maxwell, Retirement Commissioner

'If I think back to my grandparents’ generation 65 was considered old. But today people are fitter, healthier, feel younger and are living much longer. The challenge is getting the rest of us to recognise that and appreciate what older New Zealanders contribute to society.' Diane Maxwell, Retirement Commissioner

Dr Debra Whitman – Chief Public Policy Officer, AARP

AARP's Dr. Debra Whitman, visiting from the United States, offered her insights into the key issues and actions that New Zealand can learn from other countries' experience in responding to an ageing workforce. AARP is a non-profit, nonpartisan social welfare organisation based in Washington DC with a membership of nearly 38 million.

In New Zealand, more than one in five people over the age of 65 is still working, some because they need the money, but others because they enjoy what they are doing or like the social contact. That number is set to rise to one in three over the next 15 years.
How are we transitioning and preparing for an ageing workforce?
How prepared are we?

We spoke to Ports of Auckland to find out how they are adapting for an older workforce.

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley – Pro Vice Chancellor, Massey University
Vaughan Biggs – GM Human Resources, Spotless Facility Services (NZ) Ltd
Greg McAllister – GM New Zealand, Chandler McLeod, OCG Consulting Ltd & Luminary
What are the social and economic impacts?
Shamubeel Eaqub - Independent Economist & Commentator
Lisa Ford – General Manager, Business Mentors NZ
Blair McCarthy - Acting Director, Office for Seniors, MSD
Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie – Chief Executive, Diversity Works NZ

David Boyle, the Commission for Financial Capability’s group manager investor education, says “Older workers bring skills, experience and, often, loyalty to an organisation. Their input can be invaluable, but they can need support, such as training or flexibility around their role, in order for them to keep working.

Gary Koenig - Vice President, Financial Security, AARP
The Commission is running an online survey, asking New Zealanders what age they think they will retire and why.
Results from the survey to date from 2,200 people show 88% plan to keep working past 65 and their reasons are varied including the ability to use their skills and talents, the chance to do a job that is worthwhile, for social contact and for financial reasons.

For more information please contact:

Jane Luscombe | External Relations Manager

Commission for Financial Capability: Building Wealthy Lives

mobile +64 21 76 79 70


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Claudia Gunn
Claudia Gunn

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