Statistics New Zealand forecasts that our population of 4.4 million in 2012 will reach 6 million by 2061. The number of people aged over 65 is set to increase from 600,000 in 2012 (14 per cent of the population) to 1.5 million in 2061 (26 per cent).
“Long story short: more older workers, fewer youngsters. This trend has huge implications both for job-seekers and employers,” Bennett warned.
While older generations anecdotally tend to demonstrate employer loyalty, younger employees will work with any one organisation for two or three years before moving on.
“Younger people coming into the workforce are adapting to the needs of employers and taking an increasingly different view of their career paths. As a result, the full-time employee could soon be on the endangered species list,” Bennett said.
“Its replacement is the fixed-term contract – which means employees get a three or six-month, or one-year contract, and at the end of that they will need to find another job.”
HR departments will have to “get to grips with the changing age profile of their workforce”, he added.
“The statistical projections show there will be fewer and fewer ‘bright young things’ to compete for,” he said.
“Organisations are also going to have to accept that an increasing proportion of their workforce will be older employees, who will no doubt demand salaries commensurate with their skills and experience.”
Ageing employees must be prepared to adapt too, particularly by “learning new skills, and to multitask, and to be flexible”, Bennett said.
HR professionals need to “get to grips” with the changing demographic profile of their ageing workforce, according to Simon Bennett, CEO of Madison Recruitment.