Businesses are missing out on an "economic bounty" because older workers are obliged to retire at a certain age, according to a leading charity which campaigns for older people.
Age NI said older people should be given the choice of working past traditional retirement age.
The charity, formed from the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged, said its research demonstrated many were in favour of abolishing the default retirement age of 60 for women and 65 for men. It said over 40% of people it surveyed wanted the default retirement age to be scrapped, while over half said they would work past the retirement age of 65.
Anne O'Reilly, chief executive of Age NI, said: "Our research contrasts with the recent budget in which the UK Government announced yet another consultation on default retirement age. Ageing is a global phenomenon. We believe it to be a demographic bounty that offers exciting opportunities. Policies like the default retirement age must be scrapped to ensure that there are no barriers to the full and equal participation of older people in Northern Ireland.
"The default retirement age is acutely ageist, counter-intuitive and stamps an expiry date on thousands of older workers."