20 May 2019

Fresh insights for mid life workers and employers

My recent radio interview with Niki Gunning was broadcast then made available as a podcast. The key  points are summarised below. 

These insights are important for mid life workers wondering what next, and for employers facing the challenge of retaining the valuable skills and experience of mid lifers. 

Our working age population is shrinking while the ‘retirement age’ population is expanding. 

We can expect to live another 30 years after age 60 so many mid lifers are choosing to work for longer.

Sustainable work is about matching the quality and availability of jobs to the needs and abilities of workers over extended working lives. At different work and life stages we look for different things.

Key points for mid-life job hunters

Recruiters and employers are looking for transferable skills like emotional intelligence, digital skills, customer service, know how based on years of experience, stability and flexibility. 

Be realistic about how long it takes to find work in your 50s and beyond. Younger job applicants are just as likely to face age discrimination as older applicants. School leavers struggle to find work and mature workers are finding it takes longer to get another job.

Don't rely on advertised vacancies. Find people to talk to at places where you'd like to work to ask about their work culture and what the work entails. Develop a LinkedIn profile, hone your digital skills and do more research on what employers are looking for.

Investing in lifelong learning is more important than ever for workers of all ages with the rapid pace of technology creating new jobs and replacing manual repetitive tasks through automation and AI. 

Think about what is most important for you at work as you transition towards your next life stage.  Are you looking for fresh challenges, less demanding work, more flexibility or project work with breaks between assignments?   

Key points for employers of mid-life workers

Structure work differently to cater for mid-lifers including offering more flexibility and different reward systems. Extend flexible options to include: hours of work, location of work, part-time, remote working, downsizing and so on.  

Mature workers have different motivations for working. They are seeking work flexibility, opportunities to give back, social connectivity and respect from co-workers rather than a bigger salary.  Mature workers are realistic about pay rates especially when combined with flexible working. 

Each individual is different so talk to your valued and experienced mature workers about their needs as they transition towards their next life stage.

Outdated myths and stereotypes about ageing do not reflect mid-lifers today. We are living longer, healthier and more active lives than previous generations. Generalisations about mid lifers being less tech savvy, too expensive, blocking younger emerging talent and being less productive do not stack up.  Individuals vary a lot within age brackets. 

Tailor your training and development for a multi-generational workforce to achieve productivity gains,  re-engage valued workers and avoid needless turnover.  

Find out more 

Listen to the podcast here

For more insights on working better for longer read more blog posts here


Mary Somervell

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