Population ageing and Nelson's workforce

The Office for Senior Citizens has developed a Positive Ageing Strategy. This document includes a Vision for Positive Ageing in New Zealand. A key part of this vision is that the elderly should be able to participate in the workforce.  The employment related goals and objectives of the Strategy (as updated in May 2008) are:

  • Implement fair and inclusive human resource policies in the government sector that support the employment of older workers and entitlements to training; provide family friendly workplaces, flexible working options and recognise those with caring responsibilities
  • Work with local government and the business sector to: eliminate age discrimination in hiring practices, enable staff to participate in work-based training, and encourage the provision of flexible working arrangements that enable older workers to remain in paid work as long as they are able
  • Promote the continuation of paid employment into later years for those who wish to remain in paid work, in order to both prepare for retirement and to supplement retirement income

Nelson City Council is considering the impact of our ageing population on Nelson’s future workforce.  The 2006 Census recorded 15 percent of Nelson’s population were aged over 65. By 2031 this figure is predicted to rise to 26 percent.  Over the same period, the percentage of 15-24 year olds will fall slightly from 13 percent to11 percent and the percentage of 25-64 year olds will drop from 54 percent to 46 percent.

In many countries population ageing has led to calls for a re-examination of retirement and labour-force participation by older people.  Nelson currently has one of the lowest participation rates for over 65s in New Zealand.  The Council has carried out a survey of older workers in Nelson and many of the participants expressed a positive attitude to being in work and to the social, personal and economic benefits that employment brings them.

So far Council research suggests there may be issues regarding employment flexibility in Nelson that are leading to low employment of the elderly, and also possibly a negative perception of older workers amongst employers.

More information

Below are some links to further sources of information about employment and the elderly.  If you have any queries or comments about the resources please send them to the Library Information Services team. If you have questions about Council policies, please contact Nelson City Council.

  • Cameron, Michael P. and Charles Waldergrave (August 2009) Work, Retirement and Wellbeing among Older New Zealanders. Retrieved 17 December 2009 from Enhancing Wellbeing in an Ageing Society (EWAS) Research Programme.  The Family Centre Social Policy Research Centre and the University of Waikato Population Study Centre:
  • Marshall, Victor and Margaret Mueller (Canadian Policy Research Networks) (May 2002) Rethinking Social Policy for an Aging Workforce and Society. Retrieved December 17 2009:  


Online resources for employers