British society is highly diverse and ‘multicultural’, thanks to its wide range of demographic features - age, sex, ethnicity, and population size. It is Britain’s ability to adapt to changes in these trends that ultimately determines the success or failure of a business. In such a turbulent society, it is essential for businesses to be able to comprehend the environment in which they are established in order to sustain their foothold in the 21st Century business arena.
A growing population size and structure is a key feature of British society that is at the heart of interest for businesses; this is largely due to the economic implications associated with these factors. The population of the UK grew to 64.1 million in mid-2013, representing a gain of 400,600 (0.63%) over the previous year mid-2012. This growth is slightly below the average since 2003. This means that the UK’s population has increased by around 5 million since 2001, and by more than 10 million since 1964. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons (accessed12/03/15).By 2030 there will be 50% more over-65s - and more than double the number of over-85s - alive in England than in 2010. Source: The Guardian, London, England (2013), p. 36.
Natural change (births minus deaths) contributed slightly more than net international migration to the population gain in the year. There were 212,100 more births than deaths (53% of the increase) and 183,400 more immigrants arriving than emigrants leaving (46% of the increase). Source: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons (accessed12/03/15).
However, the largest proportion of Britain’s population is identified as being towards the mature end of society’s age structure - referred to as an ‘ageing population’. The population of the UK aged 65 and over was 11.1 million (17.4% of the UK population) in mid-2013, up by 290,800 from mid-2012. The number of people in this age group has increased by 17.3% since 2003. Source: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons (accessed12/03/15). It is improvements in health care services and healthier lifestyle etc. that has contributed to a fall in death rates and a rise in life expectancy. This increase in longevity means that there is a greater strain put upon the government and society because elderly people are living and working for longer, thus stretching resources and income savings over an individual’s working life (16-68) is becoming an ever-growing financial hardship.
“Rules regarding pension saving in Britain have until recently been very restrictive, with retirees being able to withdraw a limit of 25% of their savings as a tax free lump sum and the remainder being invested either: in an annuity (insurance product that provides annual income throughout life) or via a savings vehicle from which they can withdraw at their own pace.” Source: http://www.turcanconnell.com/media/pension-2015 (accessed: 12.03/2015)
As of 27th March 2014, there is now more flexibility in place. This freedom however, comes with a responsibility on the retirees’ part and also has implications to business in respect of their requirement to adhere to these fiscal changes implemented by the Government. Businesses must provide workplace pension schemes, meaning there is extra financial pressure on them due to monetary contributions being made by employers into these savings schemes, which ultimately reduces capital income for their operations, as opposed to improving cash flows. Source: http://www.turcanconnell.com/media/pension-2015 (accessed: 12.03/2015)
Throughout British history, immigration has been present. It wasn’t until after the Second World War however, that what can today be described as a ‘multicultural’ society was created as an invaluable solution to Britain’s labour shortages. A diverse range of ethnicities were encouraged to emigrate and become a vital source of replenishment to British society and its business operations.