Ten tips for working with an ageing workforce

People over the age of 65 as a % of New Zealand Population: 

2018: 14% over the age of 65      By 2043: 24% over the age of 65

NZ workforce population over age 50: 20% (1 in 5 employees)

NZ people over 65 still in paid employment: 20% (1 in 5 >65 years)

With a significant proportion of the workforce over the age of 50, here are 10 tips employers can consider to provide the safest and most productive workplace environments with this group in mind.

  1. Ensure that a person (regardless of age) is suited to the task and can carry it out safely.
  2. Adapt duties to suit older workers’ needs and abilities.
  3. Rotate physically demanding or repetitive tasks.
  4. Provide ergonomically designed workstations for all workers.
  5. Train all workers in injury prevention strategies – note that training requirements for older workers may be different, and training may require repetition.
  6. Ensure that workplace lighting is adequate for the job at hand.
  7. If appropriate to your workplace, offer older workers flexible work arrangements.
  8. Involve workers and tell them what is being done to reduce risks.
  9. Encourage two-way communication with workers so that they feel comfortable in discussing any potential issues.
  10. Have suitable duties available for injured workers to help them get back to work sooner and avoid long periods of time off work, which can result in feelings of alienation from the workforce.


And if there are any doubts or requirement for further information to clarify health or safety issues, then please get in touch with the team at Hemisphere Health to see if one of their occupational health specialists can help with your current situation.

Useful Links

Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) An independent government-funded organisation helping people to get ahead financially. CFFC raises awareness of New Zealand’s ageing workforce, a result of our ageing population.

Diversity Works Helps organisations do diversity and inclusion well and do well because of it.  This links to key points from a Member Connect Meeting

Chalkbox Nelson-based provider of business courses. Challenges, benefits and Nelson statistics for the ageing workforce in the region.

Ministry of Social Development Ageing workforce

Ministry of Social Development Better life strategy

Work Research Managing an ageing workforce (Future of Work Programme Report)

Employers & Manufacturers Association: unlocking the potential of our ageing workforce