The age-old question

Kirsten Hawke

Age is but a number, right? Well, when it comes to landing that next job, maybe not.
Sadly, more and more of people over the age of 50 feel like they have landed on the workforce scrap heap.

The age-old question

Worryingly, The Human Rights Commission say ageism is alive and well in New Zealand and is grossly under-reported.

A 60-something applicant may be far more dynamic and energetic than another in their 30s.

Conversely, while some people age like fine wine, others age like spilt milk.

Experience shouldn’t always take preference and if a person meets the job description they should not be disadvantaged for being too young.

Yoko Ono summed it up perfectly when she said,

“Some people are old at 18 and some people are young at 90…time is a concept that humans created.”

BUSINESS buddy is a firm believer that every employee should be considered on their individual merits, irrespective of age.

New Zealand has no compulsory retirement age and more than 20 per cent of people over 65 are still working, either out of necessity or choice.

Gone are the days of working for one employer.

The average person will change careers five to seven times during their working life

Truth is, many 50-somethings offer the best of both worlds: excellent communication skills due to their pre-technological education, and a reasonable IT knowledge, developed over their careers.

Famous bi-centurions

The globe has benefited from incalculable advances by scientists, philosophers and entrepreneurs who have tipped over that half a century mark.

In fact, the majority of American Presidents were over 50 when they became the leaders of the free world, including the current President who is 70 years young.

Imagine telling Richard Branson, 68, Bill Gates, 62, or Winston Peters, 73, to hand in the towel because they are too old?

Cher, at 72, strutted her stuff at Spark Arena last weekend.

And recently, the age-defying actress Jane Fonda said,

" I’m 80 years old, and I can honestly say that this is the best part of my life.”

Her recent global tour showed she is as mischievous and intellectually sharp as ever.

What does the Human Rights Act say about age?

The Human Rights Act says it is unlawful to discriminate against employees, job applicants, voluntary workers, people seeking work through an employment agency and contract workers because of someone’s age.

It is unlawful to refuse to supply goods, services or facilities, or to provide them on less favourable terms or conditions, because of someone’s age.

The definition of facilities includes banking, insurance, grants, loans and credit or finance.

What to do if you think your human rights have been breached?

Young or old, The Human Rights Commission offers a free, informal enquiry and complaints service to deal with discrimination issues.

You can call 0800 496 877 or click here for further information.

Kirsten Hawke