More employees in New Zealand delay retirement by two years

New Zealand’s policies encouraging older employees to keep working has led to a rise in the average retirement age.
By: | April 29, 2024

With the elimination of a mandatory retirement age in New Zealand in 2000, the number of years that employees in New Zealand are staying in paid work has increased by 10%.

A study by using OECD data has shown that New Zealand had the fourth-highest increase in the age when employees retire. The country is the only non-European country to reach the top 10 list.

While New Zealand’s government superannuation usually kicks in at 65, employees are delaying retirement, with the average age rising to 67 years in 2020, six years more than what was recorded in 2000.

The results of the survey were not a surprise to Michelle Reyers, Retirement Commission Policy Lead, adding that they reflect a positive change to retirement policies that took place in New Zealand 24 years ago.

“New Zealand has got a number of policies in place that encourage older people to continue in paid work that doesn’t exist in other countries. And this is giving people flexibility and choice to decide when they’re going to exit from paid work,” she added.

New Zealand is unique within the OECD for having the largest group of employees working over the age of 65, culminating in a 25% workforce participation rate.

“There are a whole lot of things going on in the background that are encouraging ongoing participation in the workforce for older employees in New Zealand,” Reyers shared. This included government policies that encouraged employers to improve workplace flexibility for older employees, reported RNZ.

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“We know from research that people are wanting to transition into retirement and not just stop altogether,” she shared. “And we know it’s really important to eliminate ageism, or age discrimination in the workforce, and important for training and upskilling for older employees to allow them to continue working if that’s what they choose to do.”