Over-50s have a vital role in the dotcom age

Older workers’ skills are proving crucial to the success of dotcom companies but are underrated by other employers, according to a report by the Industrial Society.

Experience Necessary – the Business Case for Wisdom argues that older staff have valuable experience of previous economic cycles and can help dotcoms make the transition from the start-up to the longer term.

Its view is based on the experiences of a range of sources, including venture capitalists interviewed as part of the research. Ronald Cohen, of venture capitalists Apax Partners, said, “Young entrepreneurs are coming in and asking for experienced people. Increasingly they’re realising that they need this to get the business to the stock markets.”

The economy in general, however, has been much slower to recognise the value of the over 50s. In the past 20 years, the proportion of men between 50 and 65 who are not working has doubled and now one-third of people between 50 and state retirement age do not work.

The Industrial Society believes government action is the key. It wants them to drop the requirement for formal retirement ages and adapt the occupational pension rules to make it easier for older employees to work flexibly by taking on part-time work if they wish.

Charlotte Thorne, author of the report, said, “Changing demographics and labour market trends are making the over-50s a force to be reckoned with. The current requirement is for knowledge.”


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