Over 50s will come to dominate self-employed workforce by 2024, report claims

The number of over-50s in work is rapidly increasing, so much so that this demographic is set to make up the majority of the UK’s self-employed workforce within the next seven years. The updated research from Hitachi Capital UK and CEBR (Centre for Economics and Business Research) found a rebalancing of the economy away from younger generations, as the 24 million over-50s in the UK become an increasingly important demographic of entrepreneurs and business owners. The data also suggests that an increasing number of 50-64 year olds choose not to retire and instead stay active in the labour market, with the rate of employment rising significantly between 2012 and 2016 from around 65 percent to 71 percent. CEBR projections show that the number of employed 50-64 year-olds will surpass 9 million before the end of 2018, and by 2021 there will be 10 million 50-64 year olds in work.

With the UK economy currently enduring an ongoing productivity crisis, the growing reliance on older generations to drive prosperity could cause concerns among policymakers looking to incentivise younger prospective business leaders to grow their own ventures. Notably, if the over-50s maintain their lead in growth, they will represent the majority of the self-employed workforce in the UK by 2024. Businesses owned by over-50s employed more people than those run by younger individuals for the first time in 2016 and this gap is only set to widen in the coming years, according to the study.

Key findings:

  • The over-50s will dominate self-employed workforce by 2024
  • UK reliance on older generations to drive UK productivity could be ticking time bomb
  • In 2016, over-50s employed more people than those run by younger individuals for the first time
  • The number of 50-64 year olds in work expected to exceed 10 million by 2021
  • Over-50s working or actively looking for work has risen to 43 percent
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