Do ageing workforces restrict job access to young talent?

New Zealand must find a way to balance its ageing workforce with the continued development of new entrants to the labour market if it is to remain competitive long-term, says recruiting experts Hays.

According to Hays, New Zealand faces a unique challenge. An ageing workforce and delayed retirement means older workers are staying longer in highly skilled jobs. But is there a risk to the talent pipeline? Do ageing workforces restrict access to young talent entering highly skilled jobs?

“Research by Statistics New Zealand shows that by 2051, the estimated population of the country will be 5.05 million and one in four New Zealanders will be 65 years and older,” says Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand.

“Those aged 65 and over in the workforce will increase in number, however by 2029 there will be fewer people in the labour force than not.

“Given the impending shrinking of the workforce, it makes sense to retain mature age workers for as long as possible.

“But we must not do so at the expense of training and developing new entrants to the labour market. If we look to the future, in order to maintain our competitive edge we need to ensure the country has a future pipeline of talent who have the skills and experience necessary to replace our ageing workforce when they do eventually retire. Otherwise there will be a skills vacuum that will take many years and a huge amount of investment to fill.

“That’s why employers have to strike the right balance between retaining highly-valued, well educated and experienced older workers, and recruiting and developing the next generation of employees.”

Ultimately, Hays suggest that the focus should be on the recruitment, development and training of staff at all levels and of all ages.

“The ongoing training and development of competent people – of all ages – is essential to the future success of businesses. After all, organizations need to ensure their workforce continues to evolve to changing market conditions. And when someone does decide to retire, they need to have suitably trained and experienced professionals to replace them.”

The topic of the ageing workforce is explored further in the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter’s bi-annual magazine on the world of HR and recruitment.  To access the Hays Journal please visit: www.hays-journal.com

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