RealTime IT News

New Economy Depends on Over 50s, says U.K. Institution

[London, ENGLAND] The future of the new economy depends on the over 50s, according to a report published Monday by U.K. world of work advisory group The Industrial Society.

Authored by analyst Charlotte Thorne, the report entitled "Experience Necessary - the business case for wisdom" notes how dotcoms are increasingly turning to experienced business professionals to take them through their higher stages of growth.

"What businesses are really after is wisdom and that puts older workers in pole position," says Thorne, noting how changing demographics and labor market trends are making the over 50s "a force to be reckoned with."

Thorne divides the over 50s into several groups, to which she has given some highly evocative names. At the top of the tree, she says, are the Warhorses -- the grey-haired chieftains who have previously weathered economic downturns.

Among the other groups are the Trusted Guides -- people who have become trusted by consumers in other media and who now front Internet sites. TV antique collecting show host Hugh Scully would probably fit into this category.

However, there are other groups such as the Networkers whose ability to talk to partner companies, especially in Asia where age is venerated, is essential to dotcoms with worldwide ambitions.

Ronald Cohen of venture capitalist firm Apax Partners reports that young entrepreneurs are asking for experienced people because they realize they need them to get their businesses to the stockmarket. Hence, the Strategist is another category singled out in Thorne's report.

The Industrial Society supports its contention that the over 50s are being drawn into the network economy by quoting some statistics. It notes that in the U.S, older Americans make up 10 percent of the workforce, but account for 22 percent of the nation's job growth.

Fully three-quarters of new jobs created in Australia between 1996 and 2000 went to workers aged 45 or over.

And in the U.K., the over 50s account for nearly 80 percent of the nation's wealth.

What a pity, therefore, says the report, that most U.K. Government departments retain a compulsory retirement age of 60. At this age, most politicians -- and dotcom advisors -- are just getting into their stride.