Imperative that Kiwi employers get over their fear of hiring older workers

A leading New Zealand business industry figure says Kiwi employers are "a bit scared" of hiring older workers.

Phil O’Reilly from Business NZ says older workers are set to play an increasingly important role. Source: Breakfast

Phil O'Reilly from Business NZ told TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning that older workers could be the solution to New Zealand's skilled labour shortage.

But Mr O'Reilly thinks small and medium businesses are "a bit scared of what might happen" if they hire an older worker.

Mr O'Reilly says the attitude of many New Zealand businesses is: "I hire someone. I'm struggling to have that conversation about retirement when that comes along so maybe I might not bother. I might just hire someone young."

But if businesses hired older workers their costs would be lower in the long run, he says.

"If you get turnover all the time, young kids leaving you, that's much more costly than paying for somebody that sticks around."

Mr O'Reilly says in the long run businesses will need to hire many more older workers because of the aging workfore.

"There's going to be less young employees over the next 20 years so you really need to have a view about employing older people," he said.