chris-roebuckCompanies which make special efforts to retain and nurture older employees will be more likely to retain the loyalty of older consumers, claims a new study. According to leading independent HR and talent advisor, Chris Roebuck, there is evidence to suggest that older workers deliver a better service for older customers.

Says Roebuck, “The average age of a first-time Harley Davidson buyer is 59. The over 50s are the top buyers of new cars, holidays, IT equipment and fashion. Not only that, but with 80 per cent of the UK’s assets, 60 per cent of its savings and 40 per cent of its disposable income, they are key drivers of all aspects of the economy. Firms which make a conscious decision to engage with this group – particularly by engaging the skills, knowledge and experience of their older workers – will be more likely to retain their custom, build profitable new products to meet their needs, and, therefore, retain their loyalty.”

Roebuck, who last year was asked to launch a national initiative for older workers in Denmark by the Danish Age Association, with the support of the Danish Employers and Danish Government, points out that 25 per cent of the UK workforce will be over 50 within the next ten years. At the same time, figures suggest that up to 50 per cent of senior managers in many public organisations are set to retire in the next three years.

“Unless organisations act on this and set measures in place, there is a real risk of a skills gap. Not only will this have a direct impact on businesses, but also a potential knock on effect on customers – not least for those companies with a high exposure to discretionary spending by the so called Grey Market. Firms could find that this loss of older talent has a significant impact on their ability to market and service this vital older age group.”

Former global head of talent management and development at UBS, Chris Roebuck advises a wide range of clients in both public and private sectors on maximising performance through people. His work at UBS contributed to the bank being Best Company for Leaders in 2005 and is a Harvard Business School case study. He has held senior HR positions with London Underground and KPMG, and implemented talent and leadership programmes for organisations as diverse as Deutche Bank, Goldman Sachs, the Bank of England, and The British Army.