Let’s hear it for the over 50s

As the Baby Boomers get hoist on their own petard for their promotion of the cult of youth, Simon Caulkin provides a nice counter in a sidebar to a piece explaining how accountants are failing to measure what is important. In the sidebar he describes how B&Q, the DIY stores company, discovered the value of employing older workers:
“As with many companies, its distinctive qualities were initially the result of an accident: growing fast in the late 1980s, it had to spread its recruitment net to the over-50s. It discovered that the necessity of employing older workers could be a virtue. As a result of a deeper skills base and wider experience, it found that its Macclesfield store, staffed entirely by over-50s, was outperforming others in profits, sales, customer service, short-term absenteeism and shrinkage.
Of the company’s 37,000 workforce, 21 per cent are aged 50 or more and 7 per cent are over 60. B&Q even boasts two employees in their nineties.
The company amplified its knowledge advantage by setting up a corporate university. In a self-reinforcing spiral, it transpired that over-50s were adept learners too – not just about products but also about the wider brand. When, in response to uncomfortable questioning at an AGM, the company launched sustainable sourcing and an ethical trading policy for its timber, over-50s were quick to become persuasive company advocates.”