Changing demographics have become an obsession for Government and businesses alike. All are struggling to understand and respond to the consequences of far-reaching changes within the population, the labour market and society as a whole. But what do these changes really mean for the labour market and for the way people work?

As the population changes, the Government and employers need to respond to the repercussions these changes create for the labour market. Ways of working need to respond to the changing market, to the changing consumers who are also the changing employees. When designing products, companies understand that at different times in their lives, different people need and want different things. It is not such a giant leap to apply this to the labour market: to start talking not just about working hours, but about working lives, which helps encompass the way that each person can and wants to work may change over the lifetime. Our survey respondents have demonstrated that they want to be able to work in different ways as their responsibilities change – not to stop making an economic contribution, but to make a different one at different times. They are looking to their employers and the Government to provide a working climate that enables them to make changes without impacting on their career success or their earnings potential. With the labour market becoming more female, older and more diverse, these are growing demands that the Government is already starting to respond to – and that all employers need to sit up and listen to. The UK’s demographics are already changing: the workplace cannot afford not to.

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