CFFC contributes to Better Later Life strategy

CFFC is proud to have been part of developing the government’s Better Later Life strategy, launched at Parliament on November 1.

CFFC’s National Manager of Retirement Villages and the Ageing Workforce, Troy Churton, was a member of the Independent Advisory Group convened by the Office for Seniors to direct and formulate the strategy document over the past 18 months.

Churton attended the launch by the Minister for Seniors, Hon. Tracey Martin, and facilitated a workshop on enabling people to continue working as they age if they want or need to.

“Assisting the ageing workforce, and helping employers to accommodate and appreciate them, is a key part of CFFC’s work in financial capability and retirement income policy,” says Churton. “We were pleased to have our expertise included in this important piece of work.”

The Better Later Life strategy – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 - aims to ensure older people can participate in society and be valued as they age.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of people aged 65+ still working – 24%. Among New Zealanders aged 65-69, 44% still have jobs. Seniors currently make up around 6.2 per cent of the workforce, and that is expected to grow to 10.6 per cent by 2033. Already, one third of New Zealand’s workforce is aged 55+.

The number of people aged 65+ still working will increase as our population ages. Today, there are 756,000 or 15% of the population in that age group. By 2038 that number is projected to grow to 1.34 million - 21% -  and one in three will still be working.

Ministry of Social Development projections show their tax contribution will increase from $5.5 billion in 2016 to $25 billion in 2061, or from 1.9% of GDP to 8.9%. Their spending power will increase also, from $20.6 billion in 2016 to $94 billion in 2061.

Yet many older workers face ageism and other barriers when they wish to re-enter or remain in the workforce. A CFFC survey of 500 companies found 33% were worried about the impact on their business of the ageing workforce, with many already experiencing skill shortages. Yet 80% had no specific strategies or policies to recruit or retain workers aged 50+, and 65% agreed that older workers can face barriers to being hired because of age.

The issue was one also covered in the Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly Review of Retirement Income Policies, being managed by a team at CFFC including Churton. Interim Retirement Commissioner Peter Cordtz is due to deliver his report with recommendations to government in December.

Churton and CFFC will continue to work with the Better Later Life team to map an action plan to help older people to work if they want or need to and to counter ageism.

The strategy also outlines how demographic shifts will have implications for the economy, housing, health and aged care, and social services.

Better Later Life has five key areas for action:

• Financial security and economic participation
• Healthy ageing and improving access to services
• Diverse housing choices and options
• Opportunities for participation and social connection
• Making environments accessible.