The New Zealand ageing workforce: an analysis of the export manufacturing industry

Curd, Estelle
Macky, Keith
Ho, Marcus
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

The workforce is rapidly ageing and this is evident in the export manufacturing industry in New Zealand. This could mean that in the next 10 to 15 years, there will be an increased rate of retirements with many aged workers leaving organisations, taking all of their critical skills and knowledge with them. Six of the largest export manufacturers in New Zealand were investigated to ascertain their awareness and readiness for this demographic shift.

Interviews with employers (human resources (HR) or senior managers) and key stakeholders, as well as focus groups with those in the aged employee bracket (55+) were analysed, and the results around considerations for retirement and the value that aged employees held in their organisation are presented in this thesis. The analysis has identified key considerations for retirement to be, financial security, health and wellbeing and social aspects of work. The analysis also identifies that some stereotypes of aged workers are unfounded and that employers and employees need to establish a mutual trust and communicate with each other if they want to move forward positively.

The results of this research highlight the lack of preparation by export manufacturers in future proofing their organisation. In addition, the organisations studied have underestimated the need for strategically engaging their aged employees and facilitating the transfer of critical knowledge and skills. The findings also explore the general lack of understanding employers have on the needs of the aged worker.

Ageing , Workforce , Manufacturing , Work design , Aged workers
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