June 2023

  /    /  June

  Discrimination based on a person's age (ageism) is a problem in New Zealand—there’s no doubt older workers struggle to find employment—but the cause is more likely due to a generational disconnect. Workers over 50 could be more successful if they learn to bridge the generational divide. There will be more opportunities for those over 50 moving forward because the workforce is getting older and good-quality employees are in short supply. But to get the jobs, you need to demonstrate that you are still relevant. According to the Retirement Commission, New Zealand's workforce is ageing rapidly. In 1986, the employment rate among people aged 55-64 was 49%. By 2017 that rate had jumped to 82%. The Commission showed that by 2035 about 400,000 people aged 65+ would represent about 33% of the workforce. As in every field, mixing young workers with little experience and older workers with plenty of knowledge can be an amazing business strategy. The two cohorts will trade skills for energy and get the job done. However, generational gaps could also be an obstacle if there are no clear official guidelines for both old and young workers to understand each other. What some people decry as ageism is more often a disconnect between