In my last blog, I asked you to share whether you had seen a change in the age profile in your company in recent years.
The results were clear-cut.
Exactly two-thirds of you told me that you had noticed a change.
And you had already seen, or expected to see, your work culture adapting as a result.
This includes changes to the way you recruit, evaluate performance, remunerate your staff, and the kind of working hours that are considered standard.
So is the demographic time-bomb that experts have been warning about for so many years finally here – with severe implications for most companies?
Or is this anecdotal evidence which is not backed up in reality?
What does the evidence show?
Our readers are right.
There is no question that our workforce is, broadly, ageing.
In the UK, the number of people between the ages of 65 and 69 who are working doubled between 2001 and 2014.1
This is mainly because long-term, established employees have stayed on in their jobs.
Meanwhile, people are starting work later in life as well.
In the US, the labour force participation rate for over 55’s has shot up since 2002. But over the same period, the rate for those between the ages of 16 and 24s has dipped significantly.
It is no longer standard to start working at 18 and retire at 65. There has been a noticeable shift, as our adolescence is extended – and so is our working life.
One obvious reason is simply that we are living longer and need to fund longer retirements.
According to the World Population Prospectus, the number of over 60-year-olds is expected to double by 2050 and triple by 2100, so this need is only going to get stronger.
But recent studies suggest other factors are at play as well.
Employees educated to a higher level are more likely to prolong their working life.2 So are those who are healthier.3
And as companies adapt to this new reality, giving older staff more support, those staff are again likely to stay employed for longer.4
The bottom line is clear.
If you are part of that third which has not yet noticed a change in the age profile in your company, you might soon.
Look around you, at the employees sharing your office, milling around and grabbing coffee. What age range are they today?
Now project ahead 10-15 years.
You are quite a bit older….. And so are they!
Imagine that there were fewer people in their 20s and 30s, sitting at those desks. There are also far more people in their 50s, 60s – as well as in their 70s.
How would that affect the dynamics in your business?
How would that change the way you manage your staff? How would it impact the kind of training you give them, the benefits you offer, the hours people work, the way people work together?
Are you ready to deal with all those issues?
That’s what I’m going to address in my next blog. Watch out for it.
1 ‘Managing employees beyond age 65: from the margins to the mainstream?’, Lain & Loretto, 2016
2 ‘ An ageing world and the challenges for a model of sustainable social change’, Angeloni & Borgonovi, 2016
3 ‘Bounded choices in work and retirement in Australia’, Patrickson & Ranzijn, 2004
4 ‘Are all workers influenced to stay by similar factors, or should different retention strategies be implemented? Comparing younger and older aged-care workers in Australia’, Radford & Chapman, 2015