Monday, 4 February 2013

Entrepreneurial elderly or demographic transition in action?

An article in yesterday's Sunday Times caught my eye. It concerned the rise in Over 50's in employment, and made the rather confident claim that 93% of new jobs in the last decade have gone to those aged over 50. Due to the Times pay wall, I can't post the link here, but the Express seems to be running the same story on their website.

The headline seemed to imply that older people were leading the way in some form of later life entrepreneurial push. Although the article does refer briefly to an ageing population being partly responsible, it didn't explore the data in any real depth.

I've recently been exploring the UK's census data as part of the Population change topic for year 10. One of the tasks I set them was to explore the interactive sections of the official census website to compare the population pyramids for England and Wales in 2001 and 2010. They had to describe the changes in the pyramid at different age groups, and use their knowledge of development to suggest reasons for the change in the pyramids shape. Sure enough, you can see the trend in the pyramids towards a larger post 50 'baby boom' generation, and a decline in the 25-35 age group; classic Demographic Transition Model in action!

Population pyramid from the ONS

Perhaps the change in age of workers is less to do with a rise in Lord Alan Sugars and more to do with the inevitable ageing of a High Income Country.


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