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Rise of the 'Unfavourable Demographic' - and How You Can Make it a Strength

Ageing populations could threaten the economies of some of the world's most powerful countries unless organisations open their eyes to the vast potential of the over-50s demographic.

Lyndsey Simpson
Lyndsey Simpson
CEO 55/Redefined Group

Last week The Times reported that Germany is “facing the fastest slowdown in growth of the working-age population of any G7 economy” and predicts economic stagnation.

This doesn't need to be our economic destiny! The growing over-50s demographic is an untapped talent pool of skills and experience.

We must retire the term retirement and enable everybody the choice to work longer and save more, but in a different way than just doing the same job for longer.

Five Ways You Can Help Reboot the System:

1. Normalise Re-Training

The career path that we choose as a teenager shouldn't dictate the rest of our lives. Returning to study or taking on a trainee role in our 50s or 60s to embrace new career paths is becoming more common and should never be met with shock or apprehension. 89% of UK over-55s are prepared to take a drop in salary to retrain in a new role/industry - so let them!

2. Celebrate & Support Entrepreneurs

There is massive growth in entrepreneurial activity by over-50s who are starting businesses for the first time. Those who start a new venture at 50 are statistically 1.8 times more likely to succeed than a 30-year-old founder and build a scaling enterprise.

3. Get Rid of the Retirement Cliff

The idea of ‘today you work and tomorrow you’re retired’ is jarring and problematic for both employees and employers. By creating 10-year 'glide paths' into later life with reduced hours, organisations allow legacy skills and knowledge to be passed on to upcoming generations.

4. Rethink 'Up-or-Out' Pyramid Work Structures

Allow everyone to embrace squiggly careers that go forwards, backwards, and sideways to allow individuals to engage with the work they are interested in and that fits with their lives outside of work. For some, offering flexibility can motivate far more than pay rises and progression.
For 50 to 65-year-olds who left or lost their job since the pandemic, 32% said they would consider returning if the job had flexible hours, 23% for good pay, and 12% if they could work from home.

5. Embrace Sabaticals

With careers now spanning 50-60 years, we must create extended breaks for rest and recovery and enjoy non-work passions. Employers fear them as they worry about covering a role for 3-6 months. It is better to do this and retain a fantastic employee who comes back recharged, more motivated and with all the knowledge they already have of your business, rather than forcing them to leave and hire a new replacement - which as you well know can be a time-consuming and expensive process, and takes several months for a new starter to get up to speed in an organisation.

The over-50s demographic with well-established skills and experience is far from 'the unfavourable demographic' that it has been dubbed of late. It is the fastest-growing segment of the labour force, and more than 40 million workers are thinking of retiring later than planned.

Join the Age-Inclusive Revolution

If you are a company that doesn’t have an Age Strategy, 55/Redefined are here for you.

Our 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.

If you're intrigued and eager to learn more about how incorporating age diversity can transform your retail workforce, get in touch. Our team is ready to show you how we’re helping our retail customers benefit from the untapped potential of an experienced, willing, and dynamic older workforce.