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Understanding the Job Mobility and Employability of Older Workers

2. Background

Population ageing in New Zealand is a key driver of change in the labour market. Industries and employers need to fully harness the skills of the older workforce to maintain productivity levels and performance as the worker profile changes.

Proactive responses to workforce ageing at a firm and industry level are needed to create and enhance overall economic growth. For example, employers will increasingly need to consider employing older workers for a wide range of jobs traditionally associated with younger workers.

For their part, older job seekers need to consider ways to adapt and harness their valuable store of skills for jobs in areas where they may not have worked in the past.

While those over 55 currently enjoy a strong position in the labour market, we suggest that we can't be complacent, particularly in the current weakening job market. It is especially challenging as this is the first time we have entered a downturn with such a high proportion of mature-aged workers. They, along with young workers and lower skilled workers, may be particularly at risk in an environment of increasing unemployment.