Working after 65: some questions to consider
Are you considering remaining in work or seeking new work once you turn 65 and are eligible for superannuation?
Retirement is now less likely to mean a sudden withdrawal from full-time paid work.
How we understand life after 65 is changing; for many people it is time of new possibilities and opportunities.
People continue in paid and volunteer work after 65 for many reasons: these could be financial considerations, or because they want to contribute, be occupied and connected to their community.
Continuing to be work after 65 years is a growing trend: in 2013, 22% of New Zealanders over the age of 65 years were in paid employment. This is up from 16.8% in 2006 and 11.4% in 2001. In 2051, older workers will be 10.5% of the total workforce
Can I still receive NZ Super while being in paid work?
Yes – you can still receive your NZ superannuation (if eligible) while you are earning an income from either full or part-time work. Your earnings plus your super may be taxed at a higher rate. Contact Work and Income for information on your own situation.
Don’t underestimate the value of your work and life experience
Employers are looking for experienced, loyal, and reliable workers to meet the skills shortage. Older workers bring strong work ethic and productivity to the job.
Many older workers are worried that employers will not value them or discriminate against them because of their age. However we are in the middle of a skills shortage and employers have much to gain by keeping on older people.
Do I have to mention my age?
No – age discrimination is illegal. You cannot be forced to retire. By displaying confidence, energy, and professionalism you can present yourself in the best way possible. You’re showing your value to the organisation is greater than whatever bias they might have.
For more information on what age discrimination looks like see: New Zealand Government Website- Age Discrimination, Super Seniors- Age Discrimination
If you think you have been discriminated against, you could seek advice and make a complaint with:
• the Human Rights Commission, or
• Employment New Zealand, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
These agencies will talk the matter through with you and help you decide what to do next. Talking to your local CAB or your union representative are also options.
What are the work options?
Being over 65 means that you have more choices about how work can fit into your life while still meeting your commitments, such as caring for others and enjoying more leisure. You should talk to your employer about flexible work options before you consider leaving.
Some of the common work options are: reducing to part-time hours; flexible work hours and location; job sharing; seasonal work; options for extended leave; phased retirement; job rotation, or starting your own business.
The use of assistive technology and having an ergonomic workspace – adapting work to fit the older worker – can ensure you get through your work hours. Workplace health and safety guidelines are useful to support you.
Find out more about flexible work options (Employment.govt.nz) and how to talk to your employer about them.
Unpaid and voluntary work
Older New Zealanders make a huge contribution to their communities through unpaid work. Often this is through caring for spouses, grandchildren, and friends. Older people contribute to the voluntary sector through regular voluntary work in a range of community organisations that rely on the work of volunteers. Contact Volunteer NZ about how to find role in your area that suits your interests and skills, or contact Age Concern for information on how you can get involved in our Accredited Visiting Service if you have an hour or so a week to spare would like to volunteer to spend time with another older person
Health and working
Health issues can increase with age, but most people’s ability to work is not affected. Age-related changes don’t necessarily affect your work performance. There are things that improve with age, such as communication skills and the ability to process complex problems. Talk to your employer about what you can offer. Keeping fit, active and learning new things can keep you well. Have a look at our wellbeing section for more information on keeping well.
Training and life-long learning
Changes to the work environment mean training and life-long learning are important. This builds on your existing knowledge and keeps you engaged and relevant to your workplace. Make sure you are not left out by talking to your employer about professional development and training opportunities.
Seek training and new skills in your own time as well. For example, Senior Net offers technology skills courses, and many community centres and libraries also run programmes that might interest you.
Many free education providers can be found online, or by talking to your local librarian. Some other examples of free course providers are:
Manukau Institute of Technology
Working after 65? What’s in it for me?
• Maintains your social connections: The workplace is a community. Work involves spending time with workmates, employees, bosses, and customers.
• Keeps you physically and mentally active: Mental challenges keep your brain healthy, and work keeps you fit by getting you moving.
• Keeping busy and sense of purpose: Being at work requires routine and focus. You can better appreciate your downtime and what you can do.
• Enjoyment and learning: Explore your interests and passions about. Being in paid or voluntary work encourages life-long learning and opens the opportunity for new challenges.
• Contribute to your community: Share your wisdom by being a role model or mentor. Recognising you have something to offer helps break down negative stereotypes and ageism.
• Financial: Paid part-time, seasonal, and casual jobs, or even your own business will supplement your NZ Superannuation and improve your lifestyle.
Working with your employer on making your current role more flexible may be easier than seeking a new job.
If you want to change roles, first update your CV into a modern format. There are agencies that can help (Seek, Work and Income, Monster). Look at your strengths and think about the previous jobs and transferable skills you have. Consider life skills you have gathered along the way: for example, the skills you learned as a parent, or your lifelong love of gardening.
There are websites such as Older Workers and Wise Ones that connect older workers with age-friendly employers.
There are also many tips online on how to approach the interview process to emphasize the value of your experience. Some useful articles for job hunting or training after 65: