Older person who is working after 65 assists young man in warehouse

Working after 65

In New Zealand, people can receive Superannuation from the age of 65, but this does not mean that you have to stop working. There is no compulsory retirement age in New Zealand, and you can continue to work full- or part-time and still receive Superannuation payments. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because of your age in the employment process or during your time with an organisation.

Why keep working?

Many New Zealanders continue working after 65 because of the benefits it gives them. For people who enjoy working, staying in employment later can offer them many things, including:
 
Maintain social connections: A workplace is a great place to form a sense of community, spending time with workmates, employees, bosses, and customers. For people who enjoy working, continuing employment after 65 can be socially rewarding and help you interact with a diverse range of people.

Keeping physically and mentally active: Work can give you something mentally engaging to do every day, which helps to keep your brain healthy. Engaging in regular mentally stimulating activity will help you stay busy and sharp. Work can also help keep you fit by getting you moving, especially in more manual jobs.
 
Keeping busy and having a sense of purpose: Many people struggle with finding meaningful activity to do when they retire. By continuing with work that you enjoy, you can maintain a routine and a sense of purpose. If you reduce hours and work part-time or casually, you can also balance your down time and engage in other areas of interest.
 
Enjoyment and learning: Engaging in work that you find enjoyable will keep you interested and passionate about the job you do. Finding work that encourages skill-building or learning new things can also open up opportunities for you to embark on new challenges.
 
Contributing to your community: If you have been a part of your sector for a long time, you may be able to share your wisdom and expertise with newer talent in your environment through being a role model or mentor. Positively contributing to your community can help break down negative stereotypes about ageing and give you a sense of purpose. 

Financial benefits: Paid work can help supplement your Superannuation payments which will give you more disposable income. This may make you more comfortable and allow you to pursue the lifestyle you want.

Superannuation and working

If you are over 65 and eligible for Superannuation, you can still receive Super payments and continue to work full- or part-time. Your total income, which includes your Super payments, may be taxed. To understand more about employment and Super, including tax code information, visit Work and Income. You can find out more general information about Superannuation on our page here.

Discrimination

It is illegal for employers to discriminate based on age. Employers also cannot ask a potential employee how old they are or what medical conditions they have. Common types of age discrimination include; assuming that an older employee will not be able to manage technology or learn new skills, that they will not fit in with the company culture because they are a different age to other staff, or that they cannot be included in staff benefits such as insurance because of their age. If you can physically and mentally do the job, you should not be discriminated against because of your age.

If you experience discrimination in the employment process or during your time with an employer, you should contact the Human Rights Commission or Employment New Zealand. You can find more information about age discrimination at work on the New Zealand Government website or on the SuperSeniors website.

Work options

If you want to stay in employment but do not want to continue working full-time hours, there are some options for reducing your time at work. Some of the options include:

Tips for finding employment

Making yourself employable in older age can be made easier with a few tips and things to consider. You need to be able to demonstrate that despite your age, you can still keep up to speed with your field and other professionals you will work with. Here are some tips for making yourself more employable:
 
Network: Create and maintain relationships with people in your industry and other professionals. Networking can occur in a professional setting, but it can also happen casually by getting to know new people. Building relationships with professionals may help you get introduced to employers and other people who can help you find a job. Networking may give you an advantage and make you stick out from the rest of the job applicants, especially if you get a referral from someone known to the organisation.
 
LinkedIn: Almost all serious professionals are now on LinkedIn, which is an online platform designed to help you build and engage your network. Connecting with people you know on LinkedIn can open opportunities for future employment for you. You can write recommendations and endorse skills for other people in your network, and they can do the same for you, advertising your expertise in your field. You can also use LinkedIn to stay involved in your industry discussions and news through LinkedIn groups and by following leaders in your industry. You can sign up to LinkedIn here.
 
CV: Make sure that your CV is designed to make you look employable. If you are worried about the dates of employment and education on your CV, you can redesign it to draw more attention to your skills and accomplishments instead. It is a good idea to find a balance between dates and skills rather than completely leaving out dates as this may raise concerns with the employer. You do not have to include very outdated information such as roles you have held in the beginning of your career. Make sure that your CV highlights your experience and skills but not your age. You can find more tips about this here.
 
Keep up to date: If you work in a fast-moving or continuously developing field, make sure that you stay up to speed with major changes. This could mean keeping up with new technology, following law changes, reading trade publications or blogs, or attending relevant conferences in your area. Some of these skills or conference attendances may also be useful to put on your CV to show your understanding of key topics.
 
Create work for yourself: Older age and job experience may be a good opportunity to look at starting your own business, trying consultant work, or moving to a freelance role. This may also make your work hours more flexible because you are your own boss.
 
You can find more helpful career advice for older professionals on the Wise Ones blog.

Job hunting

If you are looking for a new job, you will find most of them are now advertised online. Common job advertising websites in New Zealand include Seek, Indeed, TradeMe Jobs, Jora, and Do Good Jobs.

Volunteering

For some, moving to a volunteer role may offer better hours and more flexibility while staying connected and busy. Volunteering can be a rewarding job, and can allow you to explore other fields and interests while learning new skills. You can learn more about volunteering on our Volunteering page.

Health and work

Making sure you can still meet your commitments and perform at an acceptable rate is important no matter your age. While some skills such as problem solving and communication may improve as you get older, health related issues may make it harder for you to manage your job. It is important that you talk to your employer about what you can do and what they can offer you so you can continue working to the best of your ability while staying safe. Try to keep fit and active to make sure you are in the best shape to continue working. You can view our wellbeing section for more information on keeping well.

Continuing education

Older age does not mean that it is too late for you to continue building skills and learning new ones. You can keep finding educational opportunities throughout your life through various means. Community education programmes, tertiary education, and on-the-job learning are just some of the options available to you. You can learn more on our Educational opportunities page.

Websites of interest

  • You can read about your rights and obligations for health and safety in the workplace at Worksafe
  • Tips on improving your employability and avoiding age discrimination can be found on LiveCareer, Seek, and Fast Company

Find your nearest Age Concern