New Thinking for a Changing Population
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Issued 03 February 2010
Older people bring skills and experience to the workplace that can be an
asset to business and their spending power can boost the wider economy.
This was at the heart of Business Minister Pat McFadden’s message to industry
and charities today, as he brought together experts from both sectors to discuss
the economic challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.
“Older people are increasingly the backbone of our economy. We should be
recognising this and looking for ways to meet their needs, and to make the most
of what older workers can offer.
“As we continue to invest in growth, we need to make the most of all our
talent: and that means harnessing the skills of the older generation as well as
the young. This will put us in the strongest possible position going forward.”
By 2050 over a third of Europe’s population is expected to be over sixty
years old. This means that there will be different pressures on services than
there are today, but it also means a population with different needs and skills.
If businesses can adapt to the needs of this older group, then the rewards
could be significant.
George Magnus, Senior Economic Adviser at UBS, said:
"The UK needs to re-boot its ideas about how it adapts to ageing. No one is
suggesting people should be compelled to work in their seventies, but many do
want to do just that and this could have many advantages - not least in their
own financial and psychological well-being.
"We all need to think more flexibly, with a new approach to jobs, occupations
and compensation structures for people over fifty that takes account of changing
needs and priorities. Whist Government is inevitably part of this, there should
be a wide ranging and inclusive debate about how businesses and the public can
play their part as well."
A key theme of the conference was the fact that a considerable proportion of
older people want to carry on working and, far from seeing themselves as a
vulnerable group, believe they have much to offer the modern workplace.
People from these groups are often also in a better position to advise on
business ventures, as those over fifty are more likely to be self employed than
Equally this is the most significant group for entrepreneurs, with many
registering and patenting inventions into their sixties and beyond.
However the conference also looked at the considerable consumer power of the
over fifties, as over forty per cent of annual consumer spending is done by this
This leaves open an obvious market targeted at the needs and interests of
older people in sectors as varied as healthcare, financial services and leisure.
By anticipating demand businesses will be preparing themselves for the future
and adapting to a changing population as the UK moves out of recession and
continues to grow.
1. The BIS seminar “Is business ready for an ageing nation – economic
opportunities for an ageing population” will be held on Wednesday 3 rd February
2010 at the Deloitte Academy in London. A cross-section of experts and senior
managers from business sectors (IT and telecom, retail, leisure, insurance,
financial services, healthcare and social care), academia, the third sector and
public sector will discuss the economic challenges and opportunities presented
by an ageing population. The overall objective of the seminar will be for
attendees to come up with recommendations for future action by government and
business in this area and to start developing a coherent agenda for future work.
2. An ageing population is one of key drivers of economic change and this
work is a key deliverable from New Industry, New Jobs (April 2009) an active
industrial strategy for Britain. The New Industry, New Jobs strategy sets out
how we will equip Britain to succeed in what will be a radically transformed
global economy over the next decade.
3.The outputs of this work will form part of the ongoing growth agenda. Going
for Growth (7 January 2010), confirms that the drive for sustainable economic
growth will be at the heart of the Government’s agenda going forward.It looks at
the challenge of achieving growth not from the perspective of individual
departments or policies, but as a set of basic capabilities in the British
economy (e.g. enterprise, knowledge and industrial strengths).It reports on what
the Government has already delivered on the growth agenda since the publication
of New Industry, New Jobs. It reinforces and develops the strategy set out in
NINJ and sets out the new steps we are taking to deliver sustainable and
long-term economic growth.
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-02-04 14:25:25 in Employee Articles