We’re living longer. Here’s the challenge

Watching my children and their friends think about starting their careers has been a real eye-opener.

Although perhaps I should rephrase that…

Even though they’re in their early 20s, they are not really thinking about starting careers at all.

Many are doing a second degree, even if they are not particularly academic. Their reasoning seems to amount to: “Why not?”

Others are planning to travel, or to spend a couple of years working shifts in a pub before they get a job they really want.

I don’t mean to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but it wasn’t like that in my day.

Everyone I knew finished their degrees, and started submitting CVs.

This is just one sign of a profound change happening in the workplace.

It is a change that, as an employer, is very much on my mind. And it’s one which I believe all of us should be talking about much more.

You see, as we live longer, people’s work patterns are shifting.

My children’s generation know that they might very well live into their 80s, 90s and even to 100.

They might be working, in some form or another, until they are octogenarians.

So what’s the rush to get started? There is none.

As a CEO, I look at them and wonder whether, in a few years’ time, we are going to have trouble recruiting good young people….

…and what the other implications are for our workforces, when people start work later in life.

In some industries, there already appears to be a hiring crunch. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest, for example, that a huge proportion of financial advisers are in their 50s or older¹, with a shortage of young people joining the profession. Of course, industry-specific reasons may contribute to this, but I see it as part of a wider trend.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, people are already working much longer than they used to. Retirement ages are inching upwards.² Many people never really retire at all.

The bottom line is that as we live longer, our workforce is going to age, too.

And as an employer, that throws up both challenges - and many opportunities!

As my own company has grown and we have hired or brought many more employees under our umbrella, I’ve come to realise that these issues are not theoretical.

They’re real, and they’re happening now.

So while I know that you are used to hearing from me about pensions, now I would like to broaden the discussion.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to consider how the workplace should manage these demographic changes.

I’ll look at the impact on employees at the beginning, middle and end of their working lives.

And I’d like to invite you to join me, so that it is a discussion, not a monologue.

Please take a moment to complete this quick survey - I’d love to hear from you. It will take just a couple of minutes and we'll keep the results completely anonymous (you don't even have to give us your email address if you prefer not to).


¹ https://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/issues/12-may-2016/attracting-talent-where-is-the-data-on-young-adviser-numbers/
² https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/economic-labour-market-status-of-individuals-aged-50-and-over-trends-over-time-october-2018

Age And Your Workplace

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