On average, people in the UK are living longer. It’s now estimated that a quarter of all children born today will live to almost 100.1
As we’re living longer, our relationship with work is changing, particularly for employees over 50. The challenges they face, both positive and negative, could drive many to adapt their future plans to accommodate their changing circumstances. This could mean working longer, or a return to work for those who have previously stopped.
As their employer, you know the value people in the second half of life can bring to your business. And helping them to thrive in the workplace is important to achieving a people-first, wellbeing-led culture. It starts with understanding what your over-50 colleagues need, aspire to and are concerned by.
We’ve recently launched a new report, ‘The Second 50: Navigating a multi-stage life’ – designed to explore what a longer life could mean for your employees. This article will introduce you to the concept of the Second 50 and what a multi-stage life is. We’ll share key insights into how your over-50 employees see their work, and considerations for how you can better support them. Unless otherwise stated, all data presented is from this report.
What is the Second 50 and how is it affecting your employees’ relationship with work?
Driven by developments in healthcare, working conditions and social culture, average life expectancy in the UK continues to edge closer to the 100-year milestone.
For those who are coming up to or are already beyond 50 – the second half of modern life or the ‘Second 50’ as we like to call it – presents a particularly different landscape. This is especially evident in their relationship with employment. Changing family dynamics, work patterns and financial needs may lead to a re-think in career and retirement plans. Here are a few examples of the changes those approaching or in their Second 50 might face:
- Becoming parents later and seeing their own parents live longer. 1.3 million people in the UK (mostly aged between 35 and 54) now bear caring responsibilities to both children and parents.2
- Since the pandemic, many people who had previously retired are considering a return to work, with money an important motivator. Of those 50-65-year-olds thinking of returning, 61% are less likely to be able to afford an unexpected or necessary expense, or own their home outright (57%).3
- More people are choosing to work longer too, with the number of workers aged 65+ more than doubling between 1998 and 2018.4
- Only 27% of people now envision a clean break from full-time employment into full-time retirement. For some, this is for positive reasons like enjoyment and keeping their brain active. But for others, this is out of concern for a lack of savings.
With so many responsibilities to juggle over an increasing number of years, it’s no surprise that over-50s are facing a changing relationship with their work. An important consideration as their employer is to recognise these developments and implement structures that allow your employees in their Second 50 to perform to the best of their abilities.