In touch : New Zealand employers among most flexible for older workers

There is one upside to the skills shortage – it has created opportunities for older workers who want to keep working part-time rather than retiring altogether.
New Zealand employers are second only to Australians in being prepared to let older, experienced workers work part-time or on short-term contracts to fill job vacancies, according to an international survey by global recruitment company Robert Half.
For 2007 Workplace Survey, 5098 finance and HR managers across 17 countries were asked what strategies they would consider if the looming retirement of baby boomers led to continuation of the skills shortage.
Forty-one percent of New Zealand employers said they were willing to let older, experienced workers continue working part-time or on short-term contracts, compared with 48 percent of Australian employers and global average of just 30 percent.
In New Zealand, just over half as many (22 percent) would consider the next best alternative – hiring and training young people with the right attitude but without the necessary skills.
“With changing demographics, and the concept of full-time retirement becoming less popular, this creates enormous opportunities for older, skilled employees who want to keep working, but also want to take more time for family and lifestyle,” says Kim Smith, division director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting in Auckland.
“It’s also rational approach by employers to changing employment market – there simply aren’t enough young people entering the workforce to fill vacancies, so employers really have to start paying attention to how they can retain older workers.
“The skills shortage is placing lot of bargaining power in employees’ hands,” says Smith. “It is not going to get better.”

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