15 March 2023, 12:28
“Generation Experience”: over-50s revealed as £600 billion economic superpower
- New research from Saga shows people over 50 are net contributors to the UK economy, contributing £602 billion to UK plc every year – £561 billion of that through paid employment.
- Community-minded over-50s are also giving back to the tune of £116 billion every year through paid work, volunteering, caring, charitable donations, and ‘grandparenting’.
- Saga’s Chief Insight Officer, Lisa Edgar says it’s time to “rethink the idea of getting old”.
- The research is part of Saga’s wider strategy to challenge misperceptions about ageing and calls on policy makers and employers to make formal employment more attractive for people over 50.
People over 50 contribute a massive £602 billion to the UK economy every year, according to a new study from Saga, the UK’s specialist in products and services for people over 50. According to Saga’s new report - 'Generation Experience: the UK’s economic superpower’, even with full economic costs like health, social care and state pensions deducted, the over 65s still drive a surplus of £23 billion every year – challenging the prevailing narrative around age in society.
The new research, developed by Saga Insight in partnership with Professor José Iparraguirre, a Professor of Economics, demonstrates how the over 50s – aka ‘Generation Experience’ – are making a huge, positive economic contribution across a variety of activities, including through paid employment, volunteering, informal caring, ‘grandparenting’, and charitable giving.
Mark (69, Essex) volunteering in education with young adults and adults with special educational needs, said: “I’ve never let my age define me – each year is another opportunity to experience life. I started volunteering so I could be more involved with my community, and I wanted to continue using my skills and share the experience I’ve picked up over the years. I’m glad to see more being done to bang the drum about the benefits of ageing and the valuable experience the over 50s can bring to the economy, society, and the workplace.”
Lisa Edgar, Chief Insight Officer at Saga, said: “Our research shows the over 50s are supporting the economy and their communities in diverse ways – many of which bear all the hallmarks of formal work, minus the payslip at the end of the month. Today, people are living longer than ever before; helping their families; contributing to society, so it’s right that we challenge the idea of getting ‘older’. At the same time, British businesses are struggling to recruit, and here we have a group that, far from being a burden on society, are active right into their 70s and 80s and beyond. We’re calling on policy makers and employers to reframe the way employment is offered to those over 50s who want to and can work.”
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North and former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “The economic contribution of the over 50s should not be underestimated, and their role in supporting their families and communities needs to be celebrated. Saga’s report rightly sets out that we need more conversations around getting the over 50s back into the workplace. We need to showcase all the experience and insight this talented pool of people can bring. I’m pleased to see Saga’s important contribution on this essential issue in today’s economy.”
Key findings from the research include:
- The ‘experienced’ economy is a net contributor with people over 50 contributing £602 billion to UK plc every year – equivalent to 26% of the total gross value added in 2021. Even with costs such as health and social care, pensions, and welfare deducted, the over 65s still drive a surplus of £23 billion every year.
- Age-positive cultures will help business attract and retain experienced talent. People over 50 contribute £561 billion through paid employment every year and £70 billion for the over 65s. This challenges the perception that the over 50s are “inactive” and adds nuance to the “Great Unretirement” story. Those wanting to return to work and in a position to do so, need an environment that meets their needs, offers the opportunity to learn and develop at any age, and ultimately, values them and the wealth of experience they bring.
- People over 50 care about community, and are giving back in a variety of ways, including:
- Volunteering: 6 million people over 50 do voluntary work, amounting to £11 billion in direct economic value every year.
- Informal caring: Vital to the functioning of society, there are around 9.1 million informal carers over 50, contributing £54 billion each year.
- Charitable giving: 44% of individuals over 50 make regular donations to charity, averaging £162 per month and £2 billion a year.
- ‘Grandparenting’: This unpaid activity often allows parents, and especially mothers, to work. ‘Grandparenting’ equates to a direct contribution of £55 million each year.
The over 50s are the fastest growing demographic in the UK – they currently represent over a third of the UK population and hold the most spending power comparatively. 27.9 million people will be over the age of 50 by 2030 in the UK, and 63p of every £1 will be spent by people over 65 in 2040. But despite the significance of this group – and rising awareness of the need for greater cultural representation of gender, race and disability – age is often left out of the conversation and either invisible or marginalised in cultural content. Only 29% of TV adverts feature characters over the age of 50, with just 12% in lead roles*
Saga aims to make people think differently about age and celebrate “Generation Experience”. People over 50 are very active, and according to Saga data, on average its customers feel 14 years younger than they are, and 91% want to experience new things and enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle.
Read more about Generation Experience here: https://bit.ly/3ldnAwP
Notes to editors
Notes to Editors
For further information about the research, to arrange interviews, or speak to more Saga case studies, please contact email@example.com
Saga is a leading provider of products and services primarily tailored for customers over the age of 50 in the UK. The Saga brand has been carefully developed over the past 70 years to become one of the most recognised and trusted brands among UK consumers over 50. Saga is synonymous in the UK with the over 50s market and is recognised for its high-quality products and services. These include cruises and holidays, home and motor insurance, savings and share dealing and the UK’s award-winning Saga Magazine.