It’s never too late: switching careers in later life

Think a total career switch is limited to youngsters just started on their career journeys? Think again. According to data released in 2015, Britons are increasingly willing to hand in their notices and start again along a new jobs path. A recovery in the number of people willing to take a risk since the financial crisis in 2008 is a tell-tale sign that the labour market is healing, and that employee confidence will improve wage growth and productivity. Career swaps may be on the rise, but how hard is it for older workers to take a chance? As we explain in the following guide, it’s a game of consideration more than full-scale fear.

Switching careers

Take stock of the previous decades

Chances are that you haven’t sat down to take stock of your decades at work in a while. With a family and full-time work come responsibility and lack of time to mull over the big questions like ‘what would I like to do,’ rather than, ‘should I just stick where I am because it’s safe?’ Explore what makes you happy and take the time to determine how you really want to spend your day. This will provide a sturdy foundation on which to build with adult education courses or training, for example, to reach the stage where you’ll be comfortable in an interview situation.

It’s not all about the money

Yes, money is still one of the most important aspects of life; unless you decide to go off-grid during your golden years. However, we’re guessing that you’re switching to an entirely different industry to grow as a person rather than grow the size of your wallet – otherwise, you’d stick to an industry that you know. Personal satisfaction is what counts at this point, while not leaving yourself out of pocket at the same time.

Be realistic

One of the main concerns facing anyone starting anew is having to start again from the bottom. It takes strength and nerve to come to terms with this reality (in the majority of cases) but that’s OK, as long as you’re realistic about what you can do, rewards will come at a later stage.

Value your strengths

The idea that today’s culture favours the young in the world of work is not without evidence, however, older employees can offer a wide variety of skills and attributes that are perfect for employers in today’s changing economic environment: dedication, punctuality, loyalty, maturity and honesty. With the retirement age only set to increase, today’s 50-something staff are becoming more valued with every passing year. So, play to your strengths (decades of experience, work ethic) and trust that life skills are valued as much as formal education.

Focus on transferable skills

Transferable skills, otherwise known as soft skills, are expertise and proficiencies that are gained over time, and while many do not need a certificate, they are hard to live without in the world of work. From communicating well with others and time management skills to creativity and problem-solving skills, don’t neglect to articulate how you can solve business pain points and transfer your experience to a completely different role.

Seek career guidance

At some stage in your career, you may have used your experience to mentor a younger colleague, so you’ll understand why it’s important that we all ask for help from time to time. The same attitude should apply to your own career, so hunt down a career counsellor or professional jobs portal to make sense of the next stage in your life. 

If you’re thinking about a total change in your life, face the fear early by talking to friends and relatives about your current concerns to build a picture of what your future career may look like. With anything in life, the first step (in this case a resignation) is always the hardest, but the site and team are here to lend a helping hand. Simply sign up to our profile database and we’ll send you hassle-free job notifications that match your credentials while you’re on the go. And remember, it’s never too late!

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