Working assumptions: Time for change
The over 60s have outnumbered the under 18s for over five years now in the UK. Life expectancy is on the rise by around five hours each day.
Society is changing.
With the working-age population continuing to shrink, what effect will this have on our working lives?
We need to rethink retirement. The traditional binary transition from work to rest is increasingly outdated. This is as much a social imperative as an economic one. 60 is the new 50. Almost half of those aged 60-64 consider themselves in “middle adulthood”[i], and near 1 million people over 65 are continuing to work[ii].
As we highlighted in our Five Hours a Day report earlier this year, new models of work are needed which allow for people to work purposefully in later life. That might be an extension of their career in a more flexible form, or a chance to try something new, gain new skills, or put something back[iii].
At the start of the year Nesta's ageing team spent time at the Purpose Awards in San Francisco. The brainchild of encore.org, this celebration turns retirement on its head by recognising the huge contribution to society that over 60s are making. Vitally, this firmly places older people as the solution to problems in the community, not the problem that we must somehow fix.
Long established in the US, we are now supporting a test of Encore’s fellowship model within the UK. Encore Futures will place corporate executives into charity placements at the end of their career.
While addressing skills shortages and a need for charities to attract top business talent, they are simultaneously creating a new type of transition from work.
This sort of approach is essential – recognising the skills, experience and strengths that older people bring – and using them in new ways. Within the Innovation Lab, we are thrilled to be able to support Annabel Warr, Director of Encore Futures, to test and refine this concept within the UK.
Do get in touch if you would like to find out more or are interested in being a part of this bold movement as it comes to the UK.
[i] Later Life in the United Kingdom. Age UK, 2013
[ii] A means to many ends. Age UK, 2012
[iii] Five hours a day: systemic innovation for an ageing population. Nesta, 2013