Older employees: better off working in New Zealand?

New Zealand has come out second overall in the latest PwC Golden Age Index which looked at how 34 OECD countries were making the most of employees 55 and over, jumping from 9th in 2003.

Australia is sitting at 15th. So how did the Kiwis get this result ?

Incentives for older workers

The report showed nearly 40 percent of New Zealanders were working until they are 70, compared to our full-time rate of 7% for people over 65.

It concluded NZ’s good record for allowing older workers flexible working arrangements and a relatively low gender pay gap were the reason behind the jump.

Their human-rights legislation also prevents discrimination based on age, with no age limit on accessing student loans either, making it simpler for older workers to re-train.

There is also no compulsory retirement age, encouraging workers to stay in their jobs longer or continue part-time or casually.

In addition, New Zealand raised its super eligibility age from 60 to 65 between 1992 and 2001 and took away the surcharge on extra income for those who had already claimed theirs.

Australia failing to match up

Here, it’s a different story with the Index estimating our economy is missing out on $78 billion that would otherwise be supplied by older workers.

Full-time earnings for 55-64 year-olds fall into the bottom third of countries surveyed compared to 25-54 year-olds.

There are a range of proposals put forward in the report to boost our numbers including initiating pension reforms and “phased retirement” policies.

Making older workers more attractive to employers with re-training and anti-discrimination legislation are two other key steps.

Some companies have already launched programs to help their employees stay in the workforce longer. Accor offers a training program for experience workers aged 50 and over, while Catholic Homes provides flexibility in the length of its shifts and the amount of physical work.

With the number of workers over the age of 65 years set to skyrocket [1], it’s up to government and business to do all they can so we don’t continue to lose out.

[1] Treasury ‘2015 Intergenerational Report Australia in 2055’ – March 2015

Popular Articles

View All Articles
Article Img
What makes a great retirement village manager?

As anyone who lives in a retirement village will tell you, the village manager is a central figure who is critical to the success of the village and the happiness and wellbeing of village residents. But there’s no doubt the village manager plays an essential role. So, what is the role of a retirement village manager?

Article Img
Retirement village family open their first land lease community

Well-known retirement village family open their first land lease community in Victoria The Gannon family, led by Tom and Michael Gannon, have unveiled 226 homes at the Lucas Lifestyle Estate in Ballarat.

Article Img
73% of Australians willing to sacrifice inheritance for aged care

Nearly three-quarters of all Australians are willing to sacrifice their own inheritance so their parents and grandparents can enjoy the retirement they deserve, according to a new report by B2B aged care service CompliSpace.

Article Img
Volunteers are the backbone of the aged care sector, and more are needed

Tens of thousands of people, of all ages, such as 90-year-old Lily Burns and 20-year-old Charlise Hannagan, volunteer in aged care homes. The Change Makers is the theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week, 15 to 21st May, which celebrates the vital work of volunteers.

A special thanks to our contributors



Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, villages.com.au and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.