Golden years looking grim - ageing crisis looms
Golden years looking grim - ageing crisis looms for workers and employers
· Only 6% aged 50+ have sufficient funds for a comfortable retirement
· 60% lack funds for any kind of retirement
· Mature job seekers out of work twice as long as younger age groups
· 58% report age discrimination in the past five years
Only 6% of New Zealand workers aged over 50 have sufficient savings for ‘financial security’ and a ‘good lifestyle’ in retirement, according to a new study by recruitment firm OCG Consulting.
OCG’s report, Coming of Age: The impact of an ageing workforce on New Zealand business, reveals the desperate financial situation of many older workers, as well as widespread workplace age discrimination.
The survey of 864 job seekers and 56 senior business people highlights that by 2031 one million people will be of retirement age, yet 6 out 10 workers over 50 today describe their retirement savings as insufficient. As might be expected those in their fifties are worse off with seven out of ten (68%) having insufficient funds to retire, with close to half (46%) of workers over 60 in the same situation.
OCG Chief Executive, George Brooks, says the combination of financial necessity and frequent ageism is leading the country toward a socio-economic crisis as a generation of baby boomers prepare for retirement.
“This is a human issue, a business issue and an economic issue. It’s not enough to say the market will sort it out because our analysis shows the market isn’t and these grim statistics need to be addressed.”
Coming of Age reveals that more than half (52%) of senior employers surveyed cite negative qualities when commenting unprompted about older workers. These include a lack of adaptability, health issues, IT illiteracy and less ambition. More than a quarter cite cost as the primary reason for not hiring the over-50s, while 36% said mature workers didn’t apply for the advertised role.
When job seekers were asked if they have experienced age discrimination, 61% say they have witnessed it and 58% have experienced it during the past five years. Discrimination included reduced access to promotion, less interesting jobs, lower remuneration and fewer training opportunities.
The report also highlights that job seekers aged 50-plus are out of work for, on average, twice as long as younger workers.
“While similar surveys have shown a degree of discrimination, the extent and commonality of both employers and employees reporting ageism shows the practice is more prevalent than previously realised,” comments Mr Brooks.
Despite prejudices, Coming of Age shows that older workers want the same things from a job as younger groups. The top six includes: feeling recognised and valued (86%), company culture (79%), passion for the role (78%), learning new things (78%), work life fit (75%) and remuneration (73%).
Age-relevant job attributes, such as a phased retirement (21%) and ability to work with people their own age (8%), were of limited interest.
Despite close to half (48%) of employers agreeing that older workers are a relatively untapped resource in their industry, only 18% have strategies around ageing workforce participation.
Mr Brooks says there needs to be a wider appreciation of the value older workers bring to businesses including knowledge, experience, productivity and ability to handle a crisis.
“Financial need coupled with ageism is a very real economic, political and social problem, but that’s at the macro level,” he says.
“It is individual firms and the workers they employ who make the decision to hire or not to hire an older worker. Solving this problem will require leadership and cultural change.”
For the full report please visit http://www.ocg.co.nz/news-views/Coming-of-Age-The-impacts-of-an-ageing-workforce-on-New-Zealand-business?pi_newsitemid=62