Older, but none the wiser? The implications of an ageing workforce in the UK

An ageing workforce will create big talent management challenges for UK employers. They should be changing their reward and resourcing practices now.

Historically low birth rates and increasing life expectancy mean that Europe’s working population is ageing fast. In 2012 the continent reached an inevitable demographic tipping point. The percentage of the population of working age fell for the first time in 40 years. It is now forecast to fall every year until 2060. This inescapable trend will have profound implications for governments, citizens and companies across Europe.

The demographic make-up of the UK means that the country has more time to adjust—until the early 2020s—than the continent’s other large economies, according to European Commission forecasts. But are UK companies using that time to their advantage?

 
Written by The Economist Intelligence Unit, on behalf of Towers Watson

To explore some of the issues that senior executives will have to address as they seek to adapt their organisations to this new world, The Economist Intelligence Unit, on behalf of Towers Watson, surveyed 480 senior executives at companies across Europe, with 84 in the UK. Just over three-quarters (76%) of those in the UK expect the number of their employees aged 60+ to increase by 2020, including 29% who expect it to increase significantly.