Article may contain sponsored links

Four For ‘24: Four Types of Business Who Need Older Employees

By 2040, it's estimated that 63p in every pound will be spent by someone aged 50 or over in the UK. Yet typically, advertising, marketing and customer support cater to a younger demographic. Businesses are missing out.

As populations around the world continue to live healthier, longer and more productive lives and the global workforce continues to contract, we are heading towards a sea change where hiring and retaining older workers will become a commercial imperative.

The International Longevity Centre (ILC) has reported a need to delay the pension age to 71 by 2050, to meet the required number of workers per retiree. (1) But when it comes to older workers, it’s not just about getting bums on seats. In the UK, it’s estimated that by 2040, 63p in every pound spent by consumers in the UK will be from someone aged 50 or over: in fact, it’s forecast that total spending by this group will be worth £550 billion.(2) This isn’t just a UK phenomenon: in America, the 50-plus cohort contributes over $8.3 trillion to the U.S. economy each year; over 40% of the U.S. GDP, and over $2.1 trillion in tax revenue. That figure will increase fourfold by 2050.(3)

Yet typically, advertising, marketing, customer support and other sales functions cater to a younger demographic. The over-50s are often invisible and ignored―if not denigrated. In a stark warning to retailers, the International Longevity Centre stated that “UK high street businesses and online retailers risk missing out on a longevity dividend that could be worth over half a trillion pounds by 2040. Neither online nor offline retailers are doing enough to make shopping attractive and accessible to us at every stage of our lives.”(4)

It's not just the high street where changes need to be made. Ensuring that your business not only caters to older customers, but that your teams reflect a diverse age demographic can help build customer loyalty, grow your brand with new markets and increase customer satisfaction.

55/Redefined has a range of products and services to help your business to get ahead of the age game―speak to our Age-Inclusive experts to unlock your age advantage.


Here Are Four Examples of Where Mirroring Your Customers Can Be Truly Advantageous:

1. Retail

As retail businesses recover from the ravages of lockdown and battle the decline of the high street, mirroring the age demographics of your customer base can be a cornerstone for success.

The over-50s hold the majority of disposable income and to spend that, they seek a retail experience that resonates with their values and preferences. Aligning retail teams with individuals at a similar life stage can help reflect the needs of this demographic, enhancing customer engagement and building a sense of trust and authenticity.

Having seasoned staff members provides an invaluable advantage – insights into product choices, personalised service, and an empathetic understanding of the evolving expectations of older consumers. Last year, for example, Booths Supermarket removed the majority of their self-checkouts, and put attendants back on the tills, in response to their older customers, who missed the human interaction element of their shopping experience.(5)

Mirroring your customer base becomes pivotal in crafting an inclusive retail environment that not only meets but anticipates the diverse needs of your valued older clientele.

2. Advertising

In the realm of advertising, tailoring your team to mirror the age profile of your customer base is a tactic that more brands are starting to embrace, as they come to appreciate the financial rewards of marketing to previously overlooked customers, with disposable income to spend.

While there is a gradual shift towards seeing over-50s featuring in advertising campaigns, it’s not just outlier brands who are starting to recognise the over-50s wield more influence than ever in shaping market trends and a wealth of lived experience that informs their purchasing decisions.

Building multigenerational advertising teams that reflect the diversity of a brands’ target audience helps deliver authentic and resonant campaigns that mirror values and aspirations. This can help build brand loyalty, attract new customers to a brand and open up previously untapped revenue streams.

Harnessing the wisdom of an age-inclusive team that mirrors your client base is the key to creating compelling, age-inclusive campaigns that forge lasting connections and drive meaningful engagement.

Nicole Basra, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Lead, UK at dentsu said: “Our partnership with Work/Redefined has been instrumental in advancing our age inclusion agenda, especially internally. Their expertise and support has helped us to drive positive change within our organisation, enabling us to prioritise and address age-related diversity challenges effectively. Through our collaboration, we have developed targeted initiatives, such as an over-50s learner programme for career changers, challenge stereotypes, and move closer to creating an inclusive environment that values individuals of all ages.”

customer looking at laptop

3. Banking and Insurance

In recent years, there’s been a significant switch to online banking; something that some older customers can struggle with, or lack trust in. Similarly, as we age and the value of our assets grow, insurance needs also change, and customers need support with dealing with challenging times such as bereavements, retirement, and estate management.

Having a team in place that mirrors the age diversity of your customer base can help establish a foundation of empathy and understanding. It’s why Work/Redefined has worked with several high street banks and insurers, like AXA UK and Hastings Direct, not only to resource their skills and talent gaps, but to build customer loyalty through the qualities that come from lived experience. Employing experienced professionals who are attuned to the concerns and financial goals of older clients not only enhances customer satisfaction, but also instils confidence in the relationship.

These strategic alignments enable smoother communication and a more seamless exchange of information, ensuring that the customer experience is tailored and accessible to those across all age groups.

“I’m proud that we’ve been recognised as an Age-Inclusive employer, and the steps we continue to take in making AXA UK&I a place where people can thrive at any life stage.” Suzanne Scott, Chief People & Corporate Responsibility Officer at AXA UK & Ireland

4. Consumer Technology

Did you know that in the UK, in 2023, 43% of UK 50 to 59-year-olds and 49% of 60 to 64-year-olds owned an iPad?(6) It’s a dead-in-the-water fallacy that older people don’t like, use or understand technology (let’s recognise that many of them helped to create it!). But as we move into the era of connected homes and smart devices, some over-50s are going to find it a challenge to fully make the most of all that technology can offer them.

Older consumers, while embracing technology, often have distinct preferences and needs. They want tech that works for them, incorporating everything from the media programming that they want to watch, to devices that make their lives easier. (And they are the ones with the money to buy that smart fridge and washing machine).

But the old mantra of ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ means that having a 20-something explain and support the over-50s with technology purchases can be akin to both parties speaking different languages. The solution? Building a diverse team that encompasses a range of ages to ensure that your design, development, and customer support efforts consider the varied experiences and technological comfort levels of all users.

By incorporating perspectives from seasoned professionals, your consumer technology products can offer intuitive interfaces, comprehensive user guides, and customer support that resonates with the preferences of older tech enthusiasts.

Mirroring your customer base can help create tech solutions that are widely adopted, user-friendly and universally appealing.

Isn’t It Time You Raised Your Age Game?

Work Redefined‘s R/AGE Readiness Score is the perfect first step for businesses to quickly identify their priorities for becoming a more age-inclusive employer.

In less than an hour, we can tell you how your business is performing against key age DEI markers, including Talent Attraction, Engagement and Growth, to help you define a roadmap for a more age-inclusive future.

Let us help you make age your next growth metric.

Speak to one of our age advisors today.