I’m not saying all young people are unreliable or that my experience was typical of the workforce as a whole, but when I talked to other small business owners it emerged that this was a pattern. Here’s what Gaynor has to say:
The New Zealand workforce has changed dramatically over the past 24 years.
In mid-1990 our workforce was young and energetic with 338,500, or 22 per cent, of all employed workers in the 15 to 24 age bracket. By mid-2014 the total number of 15 to 24 year old workers had declined to 325,700 or just 14 per cent of the workforce.
This development has been mainly due to a dramatic increase in the number of 15 to 24-year-olds undertaking additional, post-secondary school education.
Meanwhile, the number of workers aged 65 and over has soared from 23,900 in 1990 to 127,500 in mid-2014. In other words individuals aged 65 and over now represent 5.5 per cent of the workforce compared with just 1.6 per cent 24 years ago.
Energetic grey-haired men and women have replaced young employees in shops, offices, medical centres and other areas of employment.
Based on current trends there is a strong possibility that by 2054 there will be more individuals from the 65- plus age group in full or part time employment than 15 to 24-year- olds.
There are a number of reasons why more and more of the 65-plus age group are remaining in the workforce.
New Zealand Superannuation is one of the main reasons why such a high percentage of the population stay in the workforce after they reach 65 years of age.
NZ Super is relatively unique because it applies to everyone once they reach 65 years of age, is not subject to any income test or means test and is not contingent on retirement.
Thus, there is a strong incentive for individuals to stay in the workforce until they reach 65.
However, lowly paid workers are effectively incentivised to retire when they start receiving NZ Super because this represents a high percentage of their preretirement income.
Conversely, highly paid individuals have a strong incentive to stay in the workforce because NZ Super is neither income tested nor means tested and represents a much smaller per cent of their employment income.
In other words, NZ Super is an extremely effective culling system because it encourages unskilled workers to leave the workforce while enticing the highly skilled to stay.
In addition, most New Zealanders have the majority of their wealth tied up in residential property, which doesn't generate income if it is the family home. Thus, they are incentivised to continue working because of the low level of income generated from their property-dominated investment portfolio.
There is no doubt that a greying workforce is a positive development for the New Zealand economy. This is because it helps retain our more highly skilled workers, it enables younger people to obtain additional education and it keeps the pressure off wage increases, inflation and interest rates.
However, one of the country's main challenges is to raise our overall skills level, particularly in information technology where older workers have limited abilities.
It is depressing to note that 371,500 individuals, representing 16 per cent of the total workforce, have absolutely no formal qualifications, either school or post-school.
These individuals will find it increasingly difficult to find gainful employment in the modern economy.
Conversely, this gives the highly skilled 65-plus age group more and more opportunities to remain in the workforce.
Telling us, as the Mayor of Auckland does, that it’s ‘Kid’s First’ or as the Waiheke Local Board does ‘that it’s all about the kids’ or as hard left Green Party list MP Denise Roche does ‘that the old are preying on the young’ doesn’t wash.
Get real and recognise that we’re the one who are securing your future and not the other way. Stop treating us as worthless spongers and start treating us with the respect we deserve. If you don’t, we’ll show you why you should…and, yes, that is a threat.