For Lyndsay Simpson, Founder and CEO of 55 Redefined, purpose is right at the heart of this disruptive firm, which aims to tackle agism in the UK, particularly at work. The group includes a membership platform, Life/Redefined, to connect over-50s to inspiring life stories and expert opinions, an over-50s job board, Jobs/Redefined, and an employer-focused platform Work/Redefined, which offers services such as Age Inclusive Accreditation and Age Unconscious Bias training.
In the US and the UK, around 37% of employers will not consider hiring an over-50s candidate, often because they think they might take a lot of sick days, when in fact they’re 200% less likely to be off sick than an employee in their 20s. A child born today will live, on average, to about 103 years old. That life expectancy, combined with record low birth rates in many regions in the world, is creating a shrinking working age population.
“That’s a huge social challenge. It creates leadership challenges of how to motivate and engage teams of people that are 40 years apart in age. It creates challenges around the physical nature of work, and the flexibility that we encourage in work,” says Simpson.
“It's not just your workforce that's ageing, it's your customer base. So, some companies are trying to mirror workforces, so that consumers are interacting with the relevant age group for what their conversation is, rather than there being this mismatch across the generations. I can't think of any company that we've interacted with in the last 12 months that doesn't have recruitment challenges. And that's going to get increasingly year-on-year harder when that talent pool is shrinking by 25%”.
“But the companies that are doing good work in this space, are finding that it's having a positive impact on their existing workforce. So, if they proactively attract over 50s or 60s into new roles into their company, they see reduction in attrition of their existing workforce, because people are no longer feeling they're going to be past it or pushed out the door when they reach a certain age. We're also seeing intergenerational diversity, in the same way as diversity in every other characteristic, makes for better business decisions.”