Thanks to Stephen I managed to get along to this month’s Creative Capital discussion hosted by Derek Jones at The Hospital which featured Nick Isles of The Work Foundation discussing how demographics will change in Europe between now and 2050.
In the next ten years the age profile of the UK will change beyond all recognition. Jim O’Neill, an economist with Goldman Sachs was quoted ‘in 20-50 years time, the countries with the access to cheap labour will be the economic winners‘.
Although people will live longer, they will be sicker for longer and Alzheimers will be prevalent amongst many of the elderly. The rise of the older worker will be an accelerator for the adoption of more flexible working conditions, internet and home working.
To make up for the imbalance in the workforce there will be an influence of immigrants and Europeans will work longer. Product design will change to become inclusive, products will be designed for people with minimal mobility, but all consumers will benefit. An example of this was the Aeron chair, which was originally designed with older less mobile people in mind.
There is likely to be a rise of the experience economy, an adjunct to the service economy, experiences are aimed at the self-actualisation aspect of the customer, services are aimed at the lower elements within Maslow’s hierachy of needs. It deals with the demand for self expression.
Some of the solutions for the social impact of an aging population include a social economy based on reputation points alongside the cash economy. Orange had done a trial of a similar kind of scheme called TimeBank.