Barriers to Employment


  • Maria C McNeill Lincoln University



The 'baby boomers' are now approaching their 'third age' with many people able to live fit, active, healthy lives well beyond that experienced by previous generations. The 'third age' supposedly a time to take up new challenges, or explore new directions, has become possible through life span gains resulting from health and technological advances. For many who are approaching or now in their 'third age', however, the opportunity to continue working appears to be a risk. While it is now possible for 'third agers' to be active in the workforce up to and well beyond the previous retirement age, many older workers experience barriers to remaining in or returning to the workforce. This research, based on semi-structured interviews with eleven employers, identifies three main themes that are perceptual, cultural and developmental barriers to 'third age' workforce participation. Each of these themes has developed around the changes that have occurred since many 'third agers' began work. At the same time employers are experiencing skill shortages that are predicted to continue and increase in the future. If employers are to maximise their potential workforce and meet the challenges of the ageing population, diversification of their workforce to include all ages will be necessary.


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Author Biography

Maria C McNeill, Lincoln University

Environment, Society and Design Division