New Zealand’s aging workforce – how will this effect your business?


If you think it is hard to find great workers now, it is going to be even harder in years to come as New Zealand’s workforce is aging and the population is depleting. The implications for Employers will be significant, the way in which an Employer operates their business will have to change to accommodate for the aging workforce.

The implications on Employers will spread throughout every aspect of their business. Whether it be from Health and Safety measures right down to policies and procedures in the workplace. Studies have shown that ‘older’ workers are at a higher risk of having a fatal work related injuries than ‘young’ workers. However, ‘older’ workers are at a lower risk of non-fatal work related injuries than ‘young’ workers. This could mean that changes to the way Health and Safety regulations operate in your workplace will need to change to counter the Health and Safety risks faced by ‘older’ workers.

The real challenge Employers will be facing now is anticipating and preparing for the challenges associated with an aging workforce. Most business do not have an action plan in place which provides them the flexibility they need to counteract any challenges they may face as the workforce ages.

Employers will need to have a better understanding of their policies and practices, client profiles and staff requirements to mitigate any potential challenges. Employers will have to think twice before letting staff go or retire as they may not be able to rehire the ideal candidate.

To put this in perspective, statistics show that in 2012 over 50 percent of New Zealand’s workforce was over 42 years of age. Studies also predict that by 2031 New Zealand’s population will be made up of over more than one million people aged 65 and over.

Although there is a real benefit of hiring ‘older’ workers as most Employer’s perceive ‘older’ workers as more experienced and more reliable in comparison to a ‘young’ worker, the pitfall Employer’s experience when hiring ‘older’ workers is that they a less computer literate, more resistant to change and at a higher risk of experiencing on-going health problems. 

If you require any assistance in developing your workforce plan or reviewing your policies and procedures to align to an aging workforce please feel free to give us a call.


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