Magazine article New Zealand Management

Inbox: The Curse of the Baby Boomers

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Inbox: The Curse of the Baby Boomers

Article excerpt

The troublesome issue of our aging population and its impact on the labour market got a sound airing at a National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) workshop in Hamilton recently.

Presenters suggested there is no silver bullet and that answers must lie in policy intervention across a range of contributing areas. They also concluded that timing is key. Like many other OECD countries facing their own similar issues, New Zealand cannot afford to spend 10 to 15 years debating the implications of having an aging workforce. Decisions must be made and actions taken sooner rather than later.

Papers presented at the workshop suggest the baby boomer effect will see an inevitable and marked impact on the New Zealand and Australian workforce, and that differences are not merely related to age but also span personal characteristics, values and ethnicities.

Here in New Zealand, we are also seeing changes in the spatial distribution of the workforce as people leave rural areas, the young move to urban environs and older people continue to exit the workforce.

NIDEA, which is part of the University of Waikato's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, provides research, advisory and consultancy services and demographic training to a range of end-users, including government, the non-government sector and industry.

The New Zealand Department of Labour's David Paterson and Simon Brown warned that recent growth in labour force participation is likely to come to an end as New Zealand's population continues to age, putting pressure on economic growth. …

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