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Are we really ‘Finished over 50’ if made redundant?


Panorama’s programme last night , highlighting the problems of the unemployed over 50s illustrated the problems  four people , all made redundant in their 50s, were facing in looking for work.  400,000 over 50s are registered unemployed, with 43% of those being considered to be ‘long term’ unemployed.
The programme raised some interesting issues, suggesting retraining, relocating, etc. What it didn’t address was the way in which the process of recruiting had changed. We were shown piles of paper, suggesting ‘reject letters’ but very little was said about the process of applying for jobs online and being internet savvy. There was talk of changing skills but perhaps not enough about utilising existing skills in a different way, or different routes to making your skills known to potential employers.
There was also little discussion around portfolio working, or indeed about  preparing yourself to be your ‘best self’ at interview. When looking for work it is important to present yourself looking enthusiastic and healthy.
Nor did the programme stress that there is legislation in place to protect those who feel they are victims of ageism when seeking employment.
Interestingly, the person who seemed most accepting of change, was the only female candidate featured, a former teacher who was setting up her own consultancy business and joining business networking groups.
The programme did show very clearly the impact not working, and the repeated disappointment of rejection through the interview process , had on self esteem.
With an ageing population, employers must also realise that that 50 is not old, and that the over 50s have exceptional talents and skills to offer , and with the increase in retirement age, are looking to offer these skills for at least the next 15 years.
I wish all four jobseekers featured every success in their search in their search for meaningful employment.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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Comments

  1. Julia Moulden

    April 7, 2011

    Ceri — wish I’d seen this program — there is a new trend taking shape — people who realize that being over 50 is NOT the end of the road — and they are doing what I call ‘ripening’ — either finding new passion for a current path or reinventing — much of what happens to boomers next is within our control — it begins with a shift in thinking — my book, RIPE, will be launched on April 14th — my first column about it on April 16th on Huffington Post — thanks for calling attention to this vitally important issue!

  2. Ceri Wheeldon

    April 7, 2011

    Julia, its a subject I feel extremely passionate about! I have more than 20 years experience as a headhunter (on both sides of the Atlantic), and know that there is so much to be done to show that boomers can be valued. I do think though that we all have a personal responsibility to ensure that we are marketable as individuals, and also in some cases we need to change our view of traditional employment. I have written a number of articles around this issue, and agree that reinvention is key. Good luck with your book- I look forward to reading it!

  3. ruthie (preston lancs)

    May 24, 2011

    I’m lost 🙁

    I’ve worked in the same job (HMRC) for 14 years essentially due to difficult personal circumstances. My job has been steadily dumbed down over the past 6 years, it offers no opportunity for training with any marketable skills and whilst I recognise that I have skills and abilities (excellent communicator etc) as I do not have a recognisable career history I do feel stuck and dread the prospect of working till I drop in the same job!

    any realistic advice anyone?

  4. Ceri Wheeldon

    May 24, 2011

    Hi Ruthie, its hard to give specific advice without knowing what your skills are or your current role entails. Do you have any idea of what sort of job you would like to do should you leave HMRC?
    If you know what you want to do, I would first research that there are real opportunities available and then make sure that I was able to acquire the skills necessary via courses/voluntary work etc.
    Is it feasible for you to undertake the required training while still employed? Could you build up a part-time business while still remaining in your role before you were able to resign from your current post? Alternatively, can you apply for a transfer into a different department within HMRC where you may feel happier?
    You may feel that this could be an ideal time to have a discussion with a life coach who could discuss the options with you. If you want to explore this, then email me at editor@fabafterfifty.com and I can put you in touch with some coaches whose work I respect.
    Ceri
    Please dont do anything rash! In today’s economy stable employment is almost a luxury

  5. Ian McCaffery

    May 25, 2011

    There is this culture in recruiting people in their early 20s, working them incredibley hard for 15 – 20 years, then spitting them out at the other end, this cannot be sustained with the way our democratics are changing, Britains older jobless are in danger of being confined to history, Models of a bygone age

    The reason i did this programme was to highlight the issue

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