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If you’ve reached 45-50 then you’ve probably been working for 25-30 years. In theory, you should be at the top of your game, enjoying your career and the quality of working life it brings. However, research consistently says otherwise. If you are anything like the senior executives we talk to, there are real frustrations that a change of job alone won’t fix. But, with careful planning, a change of career will.

Career issues at half-time – what the research says

We’ve noticed the same trends in a number of different research findings about our satisfaction with work. Many of us at what we call the half-time stage (at 45-50 years) are not happy with our roles, we have concerns about job security and are beginning to feel that age is an issue, certainly when it comes to applying for different roles. There’s an understandable fear of change so many adopt a ‘keep calm and carry on’ strategy whilst papering over the cracks.

Let’s take a look at some examples. See if you recognise any that might apply to you.

Job satisfaction and progression (or lack of it)

The 2018 Job Exodus Report by Investors in People found that 25% – 1 in 4 workers aged 55 and over are unhappy in their current job, although 51% percent of 35 to 54 olds are happy with theirs. What’s more, 2015 research by the London School of Business and Finance, who interviewed one thousand male and female professionals, found that over half of  35-44 year olds wanted to change jobs. But even more significantly 45% of the 45-50 year olds want to change career.

So as you get older it appears that your unhappiness increases hugely. Why could this be? The research showed that the top three things employees liked least about their current job were lack of career progression, pay and working hours. Other reasons were poor management and not feeling valued as a member of staff.

That strikes a chord with us. Many senior executives feel that there’s nowhere else to progress in their organisations – thus limiting pay. Many also feel that there are others only too keen to take their role so they feel trapped, insecure and with limited options.

These reasons combine to create a feeling of unhappiness – and that has a knock-on effect on productivity which in turn can reflect poorly on individuals, not to mention the business itself. In 2015 Warwick University looked at the impact of happiness on productivity and they discovered that happiness made people on average 12% more productive.

Ageism and availability of work

By 2020 the over 50s will comprise almost a third of the working aged population and almost half of the adult population , so it’s depressing that in a YouGov poll of 1,100 employees over the age of 50, 14% (1 in 7) believed that that had been turned down for a job due to their age. So, this means that for 45-54 year-old workers, part-time work must be considered as an option and the competition to find that work will be harder. Work will not just land in your lap.

There is also a significant issue for people with degrees who are in work after the age of 50. In the 35-49 age bracket, 93.6% of people were in paid work (percentage of employed with degree level or above). Look at the 50-64 age cohort and it falls to 78.5%.

Now you could explain some of this by early retirement, but we would suggest that a lot of this is forced inactivity because those people are struggling to get the next piece of work.

Rises in self-employment with age

Given the research findings, it’s no surprise that the number of self-employed, with or without employees, rises dramatically after the age of 50. If you look at people around 53 then the percentage of those who are self-employed is at about 3%. When you get to around 65 it’s in the region of 18%.

People are either choosing self-employment because they cannot be employed or, their last role was so limiting and insecure that they saw self-employment as a preferable option.

A change of job – or change of career?

If you’ve read the research and identified with some of the scenarios we’ve described, you’ll probably be feeling that a change of job (if you can find one) won’t fix the problem of what to do at the half-time stage of your career. And it is still very much a career. So, what could you do?

There are no shortages of options and you could spend a lot of time and energy sifting through them to only arrive back at the crossroads. So we are going to put forward an idea that we know works – and that we feel gives senior executives the best platform to use your skill sets and receive the rewards and create the quality of life (inside and outside of work) that you deserve.

The Portfolio Executive route

If you want to have a workstyle that is fit for the 21st century and fit for the time you are going to spend at work between 45 and maybe even 75, then you need to take control of your own destiny.

As a Portfolio Executive, you’ll be able to work part-time for several mid-sized businesses in an executive role, helping them grow and deliver results. By having several clients simultaneously, you can afford for one to stop whilst searching for the next. You are building a business around your proven capabilities, helping other businesses grow.  And it’s buffered against the loss of any one client. To get there takes time and effort but we’re here with a very personalised and supported programme that creates sustainable success.

To find out more, check out our Portfolio Executive programme. Not only will you understand the true value you bring, you’ll realise the rewards that can come with it.