Over the last year, British employment growth has been fuelled by the over 50s with almost two-thirds of generation X currently in work planning to retire later than they expected to a decade ago. In addition, according to the Office of National Statistics office-based employment in the UK for the over 65s has risen from 8.6% to 10.9% over the past 10 years.
Based on these numbers, if employment growth continues at its current rate, Instant, the flexible workspace specialist, forecasts that an additional 10,100 flexible offices will be needed across the UK by 2030 to absorb demand from the over 50s alone.
The over 50s currently account for 32% of the total UK earnings and this is expected to increase to 40% by 2040. If companies are able to maximise the economic power of older workers, this would help sustain economic growth and could add an extra 2% to UK GDP by 2040.
However, if workers retire before they are ready to do so because of an unfavourable office space and working environment, this leads to an avoidable economic burden, not to mention the social and economic detriment of overlooking the experience and leadership potential of this generation.
In recent years, the image of the flex office occupier has changed from the young start-up to the global corporate occupier acquiring space to complement their existing office space. Millennials and Generation Z account for the 62% of flex take-up compared to 33% of Generation X. But Instant’s research predicts the share of Generation X occupiers will surpass 50% in the next 10 years as more companies adopt the flex model to cope with business expansion.
In addition, Generation X, largely thanks to greater experience and capital, are more likely to start their own business and currently the over 50s account for 43% of all start-ups across the UK. London in particular will benefit from the number of Generation X start-ups where there are currently 24 start-ups for every 1,000 citizens in the capital.
John Duckworth, Managing Director UK & EMEA at The Instant Group comments:: “The number of people who are choosing to delay their retirement do so not only for financial reasons, but due to job satisfaction, favourable working conditions and the stimulating and sociable work environment. If the flex industry is able to cater their spaces across multiple generations, this could add an extra three to five years to an employee’s working life.
“Providing a healthy and collaborative working environment is a key focus for employers, and as the new generation enter the workforce, landlords and occupiers will be creating new ways in which to attract and retain young talent. But it is not only the young Generation Z’ers who landlords and operators should be targeting; the industry has, perhaps, been focused on the Baby Boomers and Millennials who dominate newspaper columns, but the potential of the often-overlooked Generation X is vast.”