UPFRONT Age concerns

New Zealand’s aging workforce might threaten to drain the nation’s labour market, but less than half the country’s employers consider the transition business issue, according to Hudson New Zealand’s ‘Ageing Population – Implications for Employers’ report.
The report, based on survey of almost 1800 Kiwi companies, says that by the middle of this century one in four New Zealanders will be aged 65 years or older, compared to one in eight today.
The results are warning when combined with the current skill and labour shortage and the lowest unemployment levels in 16 years, according to Hudson New Zealand general manager Greg Thompson. “All these factors point to progressive draining of the labour market, yet few organisations are taking steps to address the issue,” he said.
The report also shows that less than half New Zealand’s businesses have any formal process in place to transfer skills and knowledge when an employee retires. “Experienced mature-aged workers are walking out the door taking years of experience and intellectual property with them. This is poor business practice and has negative impact on the financial performance of an organisation,” says Thompson.
Mature workers are, he says, becoming increasingly important. “Unfortunately, negative stereotypes about older workers still exist.”
Common perceptions about older workers include:
* they lack innovation and creativity,
* they are too expensive to employ,
* they are technophobic,
* they are prone to absenteeism because of poor health, and
* they are not interested in retraining.
The facts, according to Thompson, are quite different.
In similar survey, Hudson Australia found almost 70 percent of managers want to remain in the workforce on part-time or casual basis after retiring from full-time work.

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