The generally accepted thought is that coworking spaces are dominated by young, millennial types working on their first startup.  New statistics however are showing an increasing number of coworking space users are in fact older, more experienced, and may be running their second, third or fourth business from the space.

Business reporter Emma Koehn writes that:

Both in Australia and overseas, the typical coworking space worker is aged in their late 20s to early 40s and trying to start businesses for the first time.

But the global real estate statistics indicate there’s a strong base of entrepreneurs out there coming to shared workspaces after years in more corporate environments, with the 50 plus cohort one of the fastest growing segments.

According to Statista, the number of workers aged 60+ working in coworking offices worldwide jumped from 10,000 to close to 40,000 between 2016 and the end of 2017.

Deskmag’s annual survey of the global coworking community for this year has found the average worker in a shared office is not a twenty-something tech founder but a 36 year old employee with significant education and job training.

However, the gender split within these spaces still favours male workers. Around 40 per cent of coworkers are female, according to the survey, with a significant drop in numbers among women aged between 30 and 50.

Stereotype shift

“There’s the stereotype of foosball table in the office and beers at 5:00, but that is changing,” says organisational psychologist Tim Mahlberg, who has canvassed Australia’s coworking spaces for a PhD at the University of Sydney Business School.

“The great thing with coworking is people are invited to go in and do what counts for them and this isn’t just a younger generation expectation,” he says.

But there’s a way to go before Australia can spawn truly diverse spaces. A key reason is businesses outside the startup community are reluctant to bring their staff into shared work environments.

You can read the article in its entirety here.

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