You’re never too old…are you?

In the workplace or as consumers, are we missing a trick with our more mature age demographic?

I spent a good part of last weekend watching the BBC’s excellent Glastonbury coverage. Impressively, most of the headliners were even older than me. Elton John, Cat Stevens, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders and Rick Astley – all smashing it out of the park and still at the top of their game in their fifties, sixties and seventies.

Or ‘old people singing’ as my teenage daughters said.

(Despite my daughters) It’s funny then that this is an age demographic that can be poorly represented in some professions. Take my own discipline for instance. Marketers over 50 are like baby seagulls.  They must exist, but you hardly ever see one…

In fact, various sources report that typically only between 6-10% of the UK’s marketing/advertising workforce is over 50. The issue of underrepresentation is mirrored in other sectors too.

Is there an issue then around how we regard and treat mature workers? IoD Isle of Man highlighted the issue last year at an excellent event that featured Lyndsey Simpson, Founder/CEO of the 55Redefined Group, which we co-hosted with the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce.

Lynsey highlighted a report the organisation had commissioned into ageism in the workplace. You can download a copy by clicking here.

And their potential as consumers?

Research commissioned in 2017 by Channel 4 to mark the launch of its Diversity in Advertising Award found that people over 50 account for 79% of total household wealth in the UK. These stats reflect more recent UK ONS data and this % of wealth is likely increasing given recent hikes in interest rates and the increased costs of mortgage payments.

Many organisations are experiencing challenges but in the increasingly competitive scrummage to acquire young, fresh, ambitious talent are we ignoring some of the more mature members of our society?  In my location, the Isle of Man, the largest demographic segment is aged between 50 and 64 and so it is inevitable that the total numbers aged over 65 years will grow over the next 15 years.

June’s sitting of the Isle of Man’s parliament featured a debate on population rebalancing where our politicians approved the recommendations of a recent report on how the Island can best manage the issue. The report noted ‘the considerable contribution that our older population makes to our society’ and to avoid using stereotyping or negative associations for this age group.  That’s great to hear.

Perhaps we need to recognise the huge POTENTIAL that this demographic offers society, as both an asset in the workplace and as consumers. Instead we tend to market the likes of incontinence products and funeral plans to them.  And don’t get me started on recruitment.. So will business be listening?

You can be reassured that you are never too old, or too young (ok, maybe you need to be over 18…)  to be an active valued IoD, or to take advantage of the host of professional and personal development opportunities that are available to you as a member.

Our growing membership is increasingly diverse from an age perspective. We value people in terms of their experience and what they can offer organisations. Not just in the boardroom, but also in terms of their future potential to lead. As well as facilitating opportunities for NEDs we also look into specific initiatives for aspiring directors and future leaders in order to help them reach their potential.

You can join our growing membership for less than a £ per day, and you’ll get a great return on your investment and then some.

Contact [email protected] to start your journey with us…however old you are!

Article – Richard Slee, IoD Isle of Man Marketing Ambassador.

Better directors for a better world

The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
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