Spotlight on older women in employment

22 October 2014

New research findings on the employment of older New Zealand women is to be presented today in Wellington at the Ministry of Social Development, followed by a panel discussion.

The research, commissioned by the National Advisory Committee for Employment of Women (NACEW) and compiled by economist Dr Paul Callister, shows that people aged 65 years and over are likely to become an increasingly vital component in New Zealand’s labour force, with women set to play a significant role.

When it comes to these ageing demographics, NACEW refers to ‘Choosers and Survivors’ – the former category are typically qualified women who opt to continue working for reasons other than necessity, while ‘survivors’ represent women who have to work to make ends meet.

Women in the ‘survivors’ category are often over-represented in sectors where conditions such as physical labour, low pay and shift work can make employment problematic as these workers age. 

The aged care workforce is one such example. In a recent feature article, INsite interviewed a range of women working in aged care, among them community support worker Jenny Goodman, aged 62, DHB healthcare assistant Josie Bidois, aged 65, and rest home caregiver Marianne Bishop, aged 55. Not one of them was contemplating retirement any time soon; Bishop said she’d still be working when she’s 75.

The panel discussion today will look at what the implications are for women like Goodman, Bidois and Bishop, and what solutions are forthcoming.

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