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Friday Focus: Creating Career Success When You’re Over 50

With all the talk about pensions and working past 65, this Friday Angel View is dedicated to looking at careers for the over 50s. Tweet:This Friday Angel View is dedicated to looking at careers for the over 50s. @Angel_HR_UK #MyUSPMonday

The Queen celebrates her 90th birthday this month and is still working, carrying out an average of five appointments per week. And, she’s not alone. As life expectancy rises the Treasury is now paying some pensioners for more years in retirement than they spent paying National Insurance as workers.

Cue pension changes which mean people are now going to be working longer. While a fitter and healthier older generation have other ideas about what ‘retirement’ looks like for them – for some it means working part-time or even starting businesses.

As Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said recently:

“[E]mployers need to keep up with changes to society and we have to ensure over 50s have the skills in place to continue developing their careers throughout their working lives.”

Ageism at Work:

The bad news: 23 % of workers over 50 feel they are viewed ‘less favourably than younger workers’ according to a recent poll. That number rises when people over 50 are looking for a new job.

The good news: The economy needs older workers, both in terms of numbers – not enough younger people will be entering the workforce – and expertise. Kate Cooper of the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), says: “[T]here is a real opportunity for organisations to recognise the benefits of an age-diverse workforce ….”

Remember: “People selecting candidates for interview or interviewing shouldn’t be influenced by someone’s age.” Tweet:Selecting candidate for interview or interviewing shouldn’t be influenced by someone’s age @Angel_HR_UK #MyUSPMonday
You don’t have to put your age on your CV, but companies can include a question on date of birth as part of equality monitoring forms.

Continuous Learning & Development:

The bad news: Over 50s team members were rated 46% for their keenness to ‘learn, develop and progress’ by managers in a another poll – much lower than their younger peers.

The good news: However, workers over 50 rated their own keenness to develop at 94% – higher than the youngest millennial age group at 87%.

Remember: It’s vital to maintain skills and knowledge to remain competitive. Ask your employer about any training opportunities or find a course via Hotcourses or your local adult education college.

Digital Skills are Key:

The bad news: A Barclays poll reported that 40% of businesses ‘buy in’ the digital skills they need by employing Millennials because they don’t trust older workers to pick up digital skills as quickly, if at all.

The good news: But 63% of those workers who took the opportunity to improve their digital skills in medium-sized businesses reported it had positively impacted their career progression.

Remember: Don’t know where to start? According to Barclays employers are particularly keen to recruit people with the following skills: Online security; Complex data analysis; Social media; Cloud-based collaboration and storage application; design, website building and coding; and video production.

Flexible or Part-Time Working:

The interesting news: A YouGov poll of over 2,000 retired and working people aged over 50 found half of over 50s would like to carry on working part-time after 65, while many would prefer to transition to retirement by working flexibly.

The good news: A report published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) forecasts a 20% increase in the number of part-time male workers by 2024. Part-timer Simon Allport, a senior partner at Ernst & Young, said: “Flexible working is a source of competitive advantage to employers. It helps companies to attract and retain talented individuals.”

Remember: Since 30 June 2014 every employee has the statutory right to request flexible working following 26 weeks’ employment and employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting a request. Check out ACAS for more info.

Think Temping & Interning:

More interesting news: Many older people decide to make a career change at this point in their working lives, utilising their expertise in something more aligned to their lifestyle needs and preferences.

Saga recommends temping while you look for a permanent position. While interning can also be a great way to show a company what you’ve got.

Remember: In 2015’s The Intern 70 year old Ben Whittaker (aka Robert De Niro) was, well, the intern. He said: “The thing that I always think about interns is, even if you have to get a cup of coffee …That little thing is … an indication of what you are willing to do – and the care that you take in that simple little task, because it’s not so simple really, is important.” Check out our The Intern-themed blog here

Your CV & Work History:

An interesting point: A long work history means a lot of employment information to include on your CV. But listing every little thing is a mistake – CVs should ideally be 2 sides of A4 maximum.

What to do: Only list your last 10 – 12 years’ of employment in detail and summarise anything before that briefly. Tweet:Only list your last 10-12 years of employment in detail and summarise anything before that @Angel_HR_UK #MyUSPMonday
Remember: Each CV you send should be targeted to the job you’re applying for so mention only relevant experience or skills in detail anyway – this should help you in deciding what to include.

Get a LinkedIn Profile:

Another interesting point: It’s estimated that about 80% of job openings are never publicised, so if you’re only applying for the ads you find online on in the paper you’re minimising your chances.

Yet more great news: But something over 50’s workers and candidates have going for them is their career history and the contacts they’ve made on the way.

Remember: LinkedIn is where it’s at. You can connect with ex co-workers, employers and clients – even if you haven’t been in touch for some time. Plus, a good LinkedIn profile shows your peers, industry experts, recruiters and potential employers who you are and showcases your digital capabilities all at once!

Getting Inspired:

Don’t let your age get you down: If you’re applying for work and are getting rejected don’t assume it’s your age and get down straight away. Often it’s something else – like your Biblical-length CV or online mystery profile that’s putting employers off.

Get inspired by your peers: Try looking at CIPD’s Top 50 Over 50 list, which “…represents the very best of what older employees have to offer the modern workplace, and should serve as an inspiration to workers, managers and organisations alike to recognise and value their contribution to the British economy.”

Remember: Experience and commitment are all important to employers. It’s up to you to show that you bring energy and enthusiasm too.

If you’re looking for a new role and need some support in achieving your goals Angel is here to help you every step of the way.

Next Steps: Over 50? How is your job hunt or career transition going? If you’re looking for a new role let us know!

Share your insights or ask us questions here using #AngelView
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