Over 50’s economic contribution is larger and growing faster than the under 50’s

Here’s why

The over-50s are creating more jobs and contributing to the growth of the UK’s economy at a faster rate than any other age group, according to a report by Hitachi Capital UK and CEBR (Centre for Economic and Business Research).

  • Research by Hitachi Capital UK and CEBR shows over-50s outspent their younger counterparts for the first time in 2016, contributing £119bn to UK economy
  • Over-50s spending is growing at more than three times the rate of the under-50s
  • 45 per cent of all self-employed are now over the age of 50 and are growing at a faster rate than ever before

Contrary to popular belief, the over-50’s are playing an increasingly important role in the economic growth of the UK. Rather than being a burden on society, this age group is outstripping its younger counterparts on a number of fronts - from spending, job creation and contribution to GDP, which is having a significant impact on our economic prosperity.

The research, carried out in partnership with CEBR, reveals that the older generation spent more than the under-50s for the first time in the year ending April 2016, with a total £376bn of discretionary spending. Analysis of the economic impact of this ‘silver pound’ showed that it translated to a contribution of £119bn to the UK economy (over 6 per cent of total UK GDP in 2016), supporting an estimated 1.9m jobs.

Crucially, the over-50s’ contribution was found to be growing at a much faster rate than that of the younger age bracket. While spending by the under-50s has grown just 1.4 per cent per year since 2003, spending by the over-50s over the same period has grown more than three times as fast at 4.6 per cent per year.

Driven by increasing life expectancy, the number of over-50s living in the UK has increased substantially over the past 15 years to 23.6m in 2015, a figure that is set to keep rising.  The report showed that the economic contribution of this group is expected to grow by 57 per cent over the next ten years.

This age group are also outstripping the young on job creation. Labour Force Survey data shows that over-50s currently make up 45 per cent of the UK self-employed workforce, and that the employers among them accounted for nearly 10m jobs in 2016, almost 2m more than the under-50s. The study also found that, as with spending, employment by the over-50s had grown significantly faster, another trend that’s set to continue.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital UK said: “Our research challenges negative preconceptions about the over-50s, both in our industry and in society in general.”

“Not only have we shown that this group is now the dominant force in the UK economy, but also that their contribution across jobs, spending and wealth creation is growing at a considerably faster rate than the under-50s’.”

“We are now seeing the over 50’s setting up and running their own businesses at a faster rate than any other age group, directly employing nearly 10m people, 2m more than the under 50’s.”

“It is time to stop being negative about the older generation. Instead of writing them off, we must become more effective at realising the economic ambitions of this growing section of the population.”

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