There are some pretty scary statistics out there about what can happen as you move beyond 45 in to your 50’s and later.  Just to give you some statistics which are pre-Covid.  

  • An estimated 2.4 million workers were sandwich carers, caring for both children and ageing parents. Could, that happen to you?  Does your current workstyle match this possible situation?
  • CIPD research suggests that many young managers lack the confidence to manage older colleagues even though older workers are less likely to take time off through ill health than younger workers, particularly short-term absence.  Are you able to engage with younger managers and retain your position, or find new positions where there are younger managers?
  • Only just over a third of employers say they train their line managers to develop team working among age diverse teams. With a similar proportion rating their managers as effective in doing this.  

Critical Questions

There are some crucial questions you need to ask yourself about your current (and future employers):  Will your employer be able to sustain relationships with age diverse teams?  Is there a culture of youthfulness?   Are you going to end up parked because younger, and apparently more energetic, new managers are coming up below?   

Pre-Covid labour market data showed that older workers find it hard to get back into work if they have left or lost their job despite the wealth of experience they would bring, suggesting that some employers shy away from recruiting older people.

For those over the age of 65 more than half of the increase in employment pre-Covid, was the result of self-employment and pre-Covid over 50’s account for a significant proportion of overall self-employment in the UK (42.9%).  By age 70 just 10 % are in work (pre-Covid) many of whom are self-employed.

Some industries see a large drop out of workers between the ages of 45-49 years and 60-64 years.  Sectors such as Finance, Public administration, ICT/ Tech all see a drop of greater than 60% between the number of workers they employ in their late forties and in their late sixties.

Yet pre-Covid there were already 9.4 million people in employment over the age of 50 in the UK.  Equivalent to over 30% of the work force.

A whole set of quite scary survey results, many of them coming from the Centre for Social Justice in August 2019.

The same report found that, of those between 50-64 years old, more than a 1 million have become involuntarily workless.

Conclusion

You need to find a way of future proofing your working life.  Whether you think being an independent consultant, going on the interim trail or starting your own business in a completely different field is the answer, I would strongly urge you to consider whether a Portfolio Executive workstyle is going to suit you.  Will it enable you to juggle your life if you are a sandwich carer and enable you to demonstrate your value rather than be dependent on the vagaries of the employment market.

Check out http://2ndhalfcareer.com and see what the options could mean for you.

Charles McLachlan is the founder of FuturePerfect and on a mission to transform the future of work and business. The Portfolio Executive programme is a new initiative to help executives build a sustainable and impactful second-half-career. Creating an alternative future takes imagination, design, organisation and many other thinking skills. Charles is happy to lend them to you.