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Move over kids, the over 50s are coming back to work in numbers

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.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital UK, said: “With low productivity continuing to affect many areas of the economy, the message from our research is clear: rather than being a drain on the economy, the over-50’s are becoming increasingly important drivers of the UK’s economic growth.

“This age group is setting up and running their own businesses at a faster rate than any other age group, directly employing nearly 10 million people, 2 million more than the under-50’s and this gap is only set to widen.

“With the valuable experience, skills and networks that over-50s accrue over the course of their professional careers, this segment of society is a source of growth and prosperity and it is essential that we find more ways to support their economic ambitions if we are to rebalance our economy.”

The number of over-50s in work is rapidly increasing and will make up the majority of the UK’s self-employed workforce within the next seven years, new research shows.

Analysis by Hitachi Capital UK and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) 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 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% to 71%.

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 people from that age category in work.

Notably, if the over-50s maintain their growth in business activity, they will represent the majority of the self-employed workforce in the UK by 2024.

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