The participation of older people in the workforce is considered beneficial for both society and older workers. The past two decades have seen a significant increase in workforce participation by older workers, particularly women and those over the age of 65 years. However, there is still a considerable drop-off in participation rates after 55 years of age. The main determinants of early exit from the workforce are health and wealth. A further factor, quality of work life, which may indirectly influence health status and wealth accumulation, has also been linked to early exit from the workforce. Data from the Health, Work and Retirement study showed that the majority of older workers wanted to continue to work past 65 years of age. However, for many older workers employment preferences are not realised. We present profiles of workforce participation in 2010 from the NZLSA sample, with a focus on socio-demographic and work characteristics, and examine these profiles in relation to a range of indicators of physical, psychological and financial wellbeing. Findings will be discussed with reference to policies that help enable older workers to realise their preferences for workforce participation.
Ageing and Diversity Conference 2012: Conference Programme, 2012, pp. 19 - 19