Some employers, it seems, have yet to grasp the many implications of our fast-greying workforce - and the opportunities this presents.

I say this because a survey from the Auckland University of Technology and Equal Opportunities Trust found employers are likely to overlook older job seekers.

It found there was a "tipping point", typically at around 50 to 60 years of age, at which workers were seen as less attractive.

The irony in this is that the survey also showed 45 per cent of organisations were facing a skills shortage and that this could be combated by people working past retirement age.


Less than half of New Zealand bosses have an ageing workplace plan, which is concerning, given projections about the make-up of our future workforce.

An ageing workforce is here to stay, because Kiwis are having fewer children and living longer and bosses need to plan for it.

At a discussion forum on the topic held in Tauranga last year, Michael Barnett, chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust, noted that in the mid'90s there were 23,000 workers over 65 but by 2014 that had risen to 127,500. This equates to 1 in 5 workers and will rise to 1 in 3 workers in another 10 years.

Given the economic boom this region is currently experiencing, demand for skilled workers is set to increase. Older workers represent a huge chunk of the skills and experience in the labour market. In order to keep them in the workforce, workplaces may have to create incentives such as shorter working weeks or time off to watch their grandchildren play sport.

An attitude shift is needed to make the most of their skills and knowledge.