Over-50s showing you cannot put a price on work and life experience

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 30 Jun 2017

N AN era of rapidly advancing technology in which the concept of “a job for life” is as outdated as last months’s new smartphone, the employment market can often seem geared towards bright new things.

But businesses who disregard the “silver spenders” or more experienced job applicants are missing a trick, as new research has now shown.

A report from Hitachi Capital UK and the Centre for Economic and Business Research found the over-50s are creating more jobs and contributing to the growth of the UK’s economy at a faster rate than any other age group.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital UK, said: “Not only have we shown that this group is now the dominant force in the UK economy, but also that their contribution across jobs, spending and wealth creation is growing at a considerably faster rate. 

“We are now seeing the over-50s setting up and running their own businesses at a faster rate than any other age group, directly employing almost 10 million people – two million more than the under-50s.”

The research found in addition to creating more jobs, the over-50s last year spent more than the under-50s for the first time, with a total £376bn of discretionary spending. 

The economic impact of this ‘silver pound’ translates to a boost to UK GDP of £119bn, supporting about 1.9 million jobs. 
Mr Gordon said: “It’s time we stopped being negative about the older generation and instead of writing them off, we need to become more effective at realising the economic ambitions of this growing section of the population.”

Beverley businessman Alan Hemingway agrees employing someone with life experience can bring big benefits to a company’s bottom line.
As someone who himself falls into the 50-plus age bracket, he set up Hemingway Bailey Accountants in 2010 after more than 20 years’ industry experience, and has recently created a raft of jobs for both school leavers and more experienced applicants.

He said: “I am an apprentice ambassador and over the past four years have taken on three youngsters doing apprenticeships, and have found school and college leavers are very keen and ambitious, which is great.

“But there is also a huge pool of talent out there made up of people at a later stage in their career, which employees might not recognise, yet they have great life skills and experiences that can really benefit a business.

“I advertised three positions at the start of the year, and was expecting to receive lots of applications from people early into their accountancy career who were looking to move firms, but we actually received a lot more applications from people looking to change career.

“One of the people I have taken on has been a lady in her 40s who took her accountancy qualifications while doing another job.

“She has been fantastic; she has experience of the workplace, albeit it in a different industry, has great life skills and has worked in a high pressure environment, so can deal with pressure in a way someone less experienced might not be able to do.   

“I think one of the things that puts some businesses off hiring an older applicant is the assumption they will not have a grasp of new software or technology, but I’m living proof you can be very up to date with technology at any age.”

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