In 2004 the New Zealand Herald (I was living in Auckland at the time) asked me to comment on ‘the end of ageism.’ There were four commentators in this article and I was the only one who said that ageism was still alive and well. The other commentators waxed lyrical about how employers were not looking at age in making hiring decisions.

I was working as a recruiter at that time and that was not my experience. I saw my clients pass over people in their 60s, their 50s and yes, even their 40s.

Despite the fact that these people were the best qualified for the job. Despite the fact that those over 60 were willing – nee wanted – to take a step back from roles at the level and with the responsibility that they had previously occupied.

I told the journalist that ageism would not end until employers had no other choice. Until the skills shortage, that the research showed me was coming, got so bad that employers could not ignore those over 40, 50 and 60.

That time has come. Even in the face of potential economic headwinds the skills shortage shows no signs of abating.

The truth is, in Australia and the US (and many other Western countries) we are not making enough babies to replace retirees much less staff for growth. This has been true for at least the last couple of decades.

And if you think that Automation and AI will free up talent, the research says otherwise.

Korn Ferry predicts that we will have a global talent shortage of 85 million people by 2030.

And the World Economic Forum predicts that automation and AI could make up to 85 million jobs disappear – within the next 2 years! But that it will create 97 million new ones.

Before Covid, we were able to mask this skills shortage with immigration. When immigration stopped our structural shortage was laid bare.

This is our new reality. It’s time to incorporate the ageing workforce into our strategic workforce planning.

And the ageing workforce is ready, willing and able according to this article by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Read the article here.

#futureofwork #embracethefuture #talentshortage