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Leaders look at ways to retain older workers

Human Rights Commission
Media Release
03 September 2006

Leaders look at ways to retain older workers

The retention of workers in employment beyond retirement age is a key issue for a workplace leaders’ summit being held tomorrow in Wellington.

The key leaders’ summit has been called by the Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan, and the EEO Commissioner, Dr Judy McGregor, and aims to develop practical strategies and actions to increase the number of older workers at a time of growing skills shortages.

The summit will be attended by the CTU, Business New Zealand and industry groups, government departments with an interest in employment such as the Department of Labour and Ministry of Social Development, as well as researchers, community representatives and individual older workers.

“New Zealand will need around 100,000 more people at work in the next twenty years just to stand still and yet older people are often the last to be considered or suffer covert discrimination,” Dr McGregor said.

“We believe that businesses need to be thinking about their age profile and about retaining their mature staff. Baby boomers approaching retirement should be also considering whether they want to continue in paid work and what might make them stay,” Dr McGregor said.

“Ironically New Zealand will need more people aged from 55 onwards to stay in paid work at a time when retirement and early retirement is popular”.

The Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan said the financial benefits of working longer means that individuals can increase personal income and allow assets more time to accumulate investment earnings. ”Working longer shortens the period over which people have to support themselves with their retirement assets.”

The social benefits relate to the positive impact on social cohesion, on knowledge transfer and on the individual sense of identity and self esteem of mature workers.

“The summit aims to provide a forum for workplace leaders to leverage demographic change and “age proof”New Zealand’s labour market”, Ms Crossan said. “We’re all living longer healthier lives. For many ’70 is the new 50.’”

Employment of the Older Worker Summit, Turnbull House, Wellington, September 4, 2006.


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