Ageing workforce revealed

South Canterbury's workforce is getting older.

Results for the 2013 census show a breakdown in work and labour force numbers by age, group and sex.

Figures show 27,687 people employed in the region - up from 26,856 in 2006. A closer look reveals a changing demographic, with more people in the older age groups working.

There has been a significant increase in those aged 60 to 64 still employed fulltime, with 1995 listed in 2013, compared with 1179 in 2006.

At the same time numbers employed fulltime in the 15 to 49 age group have dropped. The number of working people aged 65 to 69 has nearly doubled, from 732 in 2006 to 1284 in 2013.

South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce president Tony Howey says an ageing population is the biggest influence.

"There is a lack of people in general who are applying for jobs; there is a lot more mobility for people now.

"The overriding factor is demographics. We've basically got the same number employed that we had five years ago, and we've probably got similar unemployment across all sectors."

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union lead organiser John Gardner says older workers are more valued now.

"If you go back 10 years ago, older employees were undervalued. Some employers are finding their work ethics are rubbing off in the workplace; they are setting good examples."

Mr Gardner says work and labour statistics have been influenced by the dairy sector.

The Timaru Herald