Business sector urged to act to maximise the economic contribution of older people

  • ​New report to reveal that the earned income generated by people aged 50 and over may account for 40% of total earnings by 2040.

New research by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC) will find that the economic output (GDP) generated by earned income of individuals aged 50 and over has grown by 20% between 2004 and 2018 (1).

“Maximising the Longevity Dividend”, a new ILC report to be launched alongside the fifth annual Future of Ageing conference, will highlight how older workers are playing an increasingly important part of the UK economy. The report will also reveal that the contribution of older people through work is likely to be even bigger in the future.

The ILC research will show that:

  • By 2040, the earned income generated by people aged 50 and over may account for 40% of total earnings – up from 23% in 2004 and 30% in 2018.
  • By 2028, more people aged 60 and over may work part-time than any other age group except for people aged under 30.
  • By 2040, the number of people that are self-employed aged 50 and over may nearly catch up with the number of younger self-employed workers.

At the Future of Ageing conference, ILC-UK Partner, Aviva will highlight how the introduction of their Mid-life MOT helps its people embrace a fuller working life.

ILC Director David Sinclair argued: “Our new research will reveal how working longer is already contributing to economic growth. But we are still not maximising the economic potential of older workers. Over 1 million older people leave the workforce before they are ready to do so, at huge economic cost for the country and social cost for individuals and families. Employers have a big role to play if we are to maximise the longevity dividend of older workers.”

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva said: “There are more over-50s in work than ever before, and yet we continue to see a collapse in employment participation as we progress towards our state pension age. This is bad for the individual and bad for UK plc. For the UK to win on the global stage, age must be no barrier to opportunity. For Aviva, our investment in our over-50s workforce is a need to do, not a nice to do. This is being led by our mid-life MOT. And we are reaping the reward.”

Yvonne Sonsino, Partner at Mercer added: “This is a really interesting and timely report from ILC, and echoes our Next Stage findings which quantify the contribution of experienced workers to industry and economies. Older workers lower employment costs as they are less likely to leave, and so are the people they supervise. They also add to productivity through enhanced knowledge sharing, group cohesion, high resilience and greater customer connectivity.  As they take a larger space in our economy’s total earnings, organisations will do well to remember that age diverse team outperform.”

Mercer and Aviva are members of the ILC Partners Programme.



Lily Parsey. Tel: +44 (0)2073400440 or +44 (0)7745 222 553



  1. The GDP contribution of earned income from older workers has increased from 9.3% in 2004 to 11.2% in 2018.

Maximising the Longevity Dividend will be published in full on Thursday 5 December alongside the Future of Ageing Conference. The full report will highlight the increasing economic importance of older people to the economy today and in the future.

For more information about the Future of Ageing Conference see or follow #FutureOfAgeing on twitter.

Maximising the Longevity Dividend has been made possible through financial support of members of the ILC Partners Programme.


The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC)

The ILC is the UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, and what happens next.

We believe society has to adapt now so we can all enjoy the benefits of longevity.

We want a society that works for everyone, regardless of their age.

We know the numbers. We know the challenges. What happens next will define us for generations.