Most leaders who do not believe that Over 50 are relevant for their organisation are stuck on the notion that older people are not creative, they don’t understand technology and they can’t learn anything new. These generalisations are myths that can be debunked. As Carl Honore said in his 2019 TED: “Human beings can be immensely creative at any age. And some forms of creativity actually depend on two things that only ageing can confer: time and experience.
That’s why human history is studded with examples of people doing triumphally creative work in later life. From Michelangelo to Matisse, Beethoven to Bahr. Today, physicist John Goodenough is helping reinvent rechargeable batteries in his 90s. Writer Maya Angelo hit the nail on the head when she said you can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Social skills usually improve as we age, so in fact Over 50s are often a stabilising force in the workplace. Over 50s are strong at making connections and seeing the bigger picture, which is very important in problem-solving. Today, there are low unemployment rates, so the idea that older workers are taking away jobs of younger workers is unfounded.
Interestingly, successful start-ups are predominantly those started by older entrepreneurs. A team of economists in the United States recently found that of the top 0.1% tech companies (with fastest growth in employment and sales), the average age of the company’s founder was 45.
Based on the Wisdom Survey conducted in Australia in February 2022, 30% of Over 50s feel under-employed. And they are questioning the traditional models for retirement – for many reasons, including longevity with good health and the need to work for financial reasons. What was resoundingly clear in this research is that Over 50s desire to be intellectually engaged; playing golf and minding the grandkids just aren’t enough anymore.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently found that mature-age people are 5 times more likely to stay in their jobs and require less supervision than younger workers. This saves the employer recruitment and managerial costs.