Over 50? The workforce needs you!

The UK government has issued a call to people who are over 50 and economically inactive to get back to work. If you left the workforce out of choice, then the government is keen to entice you back and to help fill the current void. If you are over 50 and interested in this, you could go back to your original career or start a new one.

As someone who is over 50, I see this as a time of renewal and change but that change can also be challenging and terrifying. We are facing a chronic shortage of people in the work force, so the governments call makes sense.

It’s estimated that there is about 500,000 people who fall into this category, but it’s not straightforward. Within this group there are people who can’t work due to other responsibilities as well as people who have been forced out of work for specific reasons, for example they could be part of the so-called Sandwich Generation, caring for children or aging parents. They might have health concerns which impacts the work they can do or some may have decided to retire as they have come to the end of a meaningful career.

If you are economically inactive and thinking about a return to work or a new career here are some things to consider.

1. What do you want to achieve- personally, financially by going back to work.

2. What are your transferable skills.

3. What are your realistic expectations around working life

Multiple careers in your lifetime can be exciting, stimulating and rewarding. We are long past the ‘jobs for life’ culture and those in early-stage careers today will likely work in multiple professions before they eventually retire.

Bringing it back to the market research industry, what barriers do we have to overcome in order to make it easy and encourage people to join our industry and make a positive contributions?

We need to identify roles and positions where sector experience isn’t essential – sales, project management, programming etc.

1. Remove bias from the interview process

2. Interview based on skills, ability and potential 

3. Go deep with competency and behavioural questions

4. Provide flexibility- part time share could really suit this group.

5. Provide training

When we talk about positive cultures and working environments, we rarely talk about age but what if we did?… and in doing so created an opportunity to really build out skills within individual teams and the sector as a whole.

The MRS CEO Inclusion Pledge asks agencies to create representative workplaces so wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to change the rhetoric and if we want to create representative cultures surely that should include this group? https://www.mrs.org.uk/resources/ceo-inclusion-pledge