January 2014

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“A Changing Workforce and the Consumer Power of the “Senior” Demographic”

Across North America and Europe businesses are slowly waking up to the reality of an aging population.  What does it mean to the face of the workforce, and more importantly what does it mean for consumerism and corporate bottom lines.  Here are some fascinating statistics…

  • As the Baby Boom generation ages, they are changing the face of the workforce.  According to the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) following extensive analysis of their local market, 1 in 5 workers in N.Y.C. is over the age of 55. This statistic cuts evenly across all sectors from boardrooms to healthcare, education to manufacturing, government workers to customer service providers.
  • NYAM projects that a person entering the workforce today will be capable of working 60 years, if he or she so wishes.
  • Mercedes Benz recognized the aging of its labour force and made its factory lines more age friendly, to make the present day assembly line reflective of the physical needs and limitations of older bodies.  Over its first year Mercedes’ test factory experienced a 7% increase in productivity and a reduction in the number of injuries and sick days.
  • The over 60 age group controls more than 50% of all disposable income in society, and possess 70% of all wealth in society.
  • In 2010, older shoppers in the USA outspent younger shoppers by $1 Trillion.
  • Older Shoppers prefer to frequent local businesses, and reward good customer service with loyalty.
  • 50% of all toys purchased in the EU are purchased by grandparents.
  • Older consumers will double in number in the next 30 years, while those over 80 will quadruple.
  • Yet according to Ireland’s Aging Well Network, barely more than 10% of all marketing and advertising is directed at this demographic. Usually that is when companies are marketing denture cream, stair lifts, step in baths and adult diapers.


February 2014

“Thoughts on the Coming Retiree Boom”

Here is a fascinating thought to ponder this month, as you look for any excuse to not go outside and shovel the driveway… again:

Starting by the end of this decade more people will be old enough to leave the work force each year than there will be those old enough to join it.

What do you think this will do to the nature of work and not just the workforce?  There will be fewer workers around to fill jobs so does this mean the economy will contract and businesses close because of a lack of employees or will we outsource more jobs overseas? Does this mean more automation is coming including to traditionally non-factory positions and work places?  Does this mean people will be more likely to retire and then work in lower paid jobs for a little extra cash and to keep active since there won’t be enough youth to fill the need? What will be the parts of the economy with the most demand for workers, what program would you tell your grandchildren to enroll in at school?

As you ponder those questions, here are some other statistics we learned courtesy of Statistics Canada’s website.

Today, for the first time in history, almost as many people in Canada are over the age of 65 as there are people under 15.

This historic shift is projected to gain momentum, and by the middle of the 21st century, the over 65 demographic could be as much as double that of the under 15.

However the “adult age group,” which is traditionally defined as 15-64 years of age, will display remarkable stablity.  By the middle of this century the 15-64 year old demographic will represent close to the same percentage of the population as it did in the 1960s.  This time the boom will just be at the other end of the spectrum.

By comparison, over this same timeframe and as a percentage of its population, Canada will have fewer seniors and more youth than Japan or the 15 nations of Western Europe. While Canada will have more seniors and fewer youth than the USA, Australia and New Zealand.