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NZ consistent in keeping mature workers in jobs for longer

New Zealand consistent in keeping mature workers in jobs for longer

PwC’s Golden Age Index reveals that New Zealand is one of the best-performing OECD countries when it comes to harnessing the economic power of workers aged 55 and above.

The Index is a weighted average of indicators – including employment, earnings and training – that reflect the labour market impact of workers aged over 55 in 34 OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. New Zealand has ranked second in the two most recent surveys, while also ranking as one of the most improved countries since the Index started in 2003.

“The latest Index findings clearly show that New Zealand is consistently well ahead of the pack when it comes to supporting older workers,” says PwC Consulting Partner, Scott Mitchell.

“However, there is still more for businesses to do to support mature workers. Flexible working arrangements are a start, but we really need to see a cultural change as the number of older workers in New Zealand is projected to grow.”

Only Iceland ranks above New Zealand in the Index. Rounding out the top five are Sweden, Israel and Estonia.

One of the big increases New Zealand has seen in recent years has been the growing employment rate for those in the 65-69 age bracket, with this percentage nearly doubling compared to the 2003 respondents.

Mr Mitchell says, “Kiwis don’t have a fixed retirement age so older workers can retire when they want to and on average, those that do ‘retire’, continue to work shorter hours per week.

“There is no age limit to access student loans in New Zealand which makes retraining a viable option for older workers who wish to pursue work in other fields.”

Finally, the report included a number of key policies that companies and policymakers can pursue to improve on these rankings. While New Zealand has made progress with some of these recommendations, they need to remain high on the agenda.

Encouraging later retirement. This could be achieved through pension reform or by creating other financial incentives that encourage workers to continue working past the official retirement age.
Improving employability. Policymakers could focus on promoting lifelong education and training, which could upskill older workers and thus potentially reduce unemployment of older workers.
Reducing employment barriers for older workers. Public policy could place an emphasis on tightening regulation around labour market discrimination against older workers.

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