Category Archives: Over 50s

Flexible Working for 50+ Individuals: 4 Things You Should Know

Last week, the Flexiworkforce team were lucky enough to attend the 50+ Show. We were unique in that while most of the other exhibitors were showcasing holidays and leisure and household products, we were encouraging attendees to consider supplementing their retirement income with flexible working.

Many of the attendees were confident in their skills and abilities, yet acknowledged that there is a distinct lack of support for older workers who are interested in opting for flexible working, either pre- or post- retirement.

Others were interested in the idea but feared that they would be rejected outright on the grounds of their age.

Overall, we were very impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of the people we spoke to, including their willingness to consider new, modern ways of working. Here are the top 4 things we learned.

The over 50s are a key driving force behind the rise of flexible working in the UK

While older workers may not always feel ahead of the next tech trend in the office, they are in fact championing a new working culture in the UK through working flexibly. ‘Flexible working’ can refer to any working pattern outwith the typical Monday to Friday 9 till 5 and can include part-time, shift work, working from home and job sharing.

On average, workers in their 60s reject the typical 35 hours for a much more manageable 24, offering both a secure income and time to socialise outside of work.

The over 50s want and  need flexible work, but have been largely cut off from it. Until now.

While flexible working can be seen as the solution for older workers wishing to stagger their retirement with further employment, finding quality job vacancies that can offer flexible hours can be difficult.  CEO and founder Tracey Eker sought to rectify this problem by launching Flexiworkforce.com as the only UK-wide job site dedicated to flexible jobs.

Flexible working can be an ideal solution for older workers who working but would like the chance to also enjoy their life a bit more. There are many long-term unemployed workers who have been out of the workforce because of a lack of adequate flexible working but employers are actually desperate for their skills. Through Flexiworkforce these two groups can reach each other!

Many feel a lack of support in coming back to the workforce.

The over 50s are an invaluable talent pool which remains sorely underutilised by western society. The societal problem of ageism means that older workers often have a hard time getting into jobs that they are deemed ‘overqualified’ for, others feel forced out of a job before they’re ready. While ageism remains a serious issue, there is very little data available to quantify the issue.

However, many enlightened employers are keen to hire individuals over the age of 50, such as the banking group Santander, who are keen that their staff reflect the diverse age-mix of their customers.

 Flexible working- a good balance:

In recent years there has been something of a mindshift in the way we view retirement. Many choose to reject a traditional retirement in favour of flexible employment, some choosing to never fully retire. As average life-expectancy continues to increase worldwide, the multi-generational workforce will become increasingly diverse, with older workers being highly sought after for their skills and experience.

Flexibility should be the goal for over fifties aiming to retain their independence, or perhaps even strike out on a new career path, without having to endure the taxing demands of a full-time career or conventional working hours.

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How To Boost Your Income With A Flexible Retirement

The Over 50s are flying the flag for flexible working

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With the cost of living rising for everyone, many retirees today are worried that their pensions may not be enough for them to enjoy their retirement. This uncertainty is also reflected in employment figures as only 38% of those above the state pension age are in fact fully retired. With the number of over-65 works doubling in the last decade alone, finding a rewarding job that offers the chance to also enjoy your life is no small task.

While older workers may not always feel ahead of the next tech trend in the office, they are in fact championing a new working culture in the UK through working flexibly. ‘Flexible working’ can refer to any working pattern outwith the typical Monday to Friday 9 till 5 and can include part-time, shift work, working from home and job sharing, all options very popular with workers in their 50s, 60s and 70s. On average, workers in their 60s reject the typical 35 hours for a much more manageable 24, offering both a secure income and time to socialise outside of work.

While flexible working can be seen as the solution for older workers wishing to stagger their retirement with further employment, finding quality job vacancies that can offer flexible hours can be difficult.  Following her own struggle to find flexible work after having twins, businesswoman Tracey Eker sought to rectify this problem by launching Flexiworkforce.com, the only UK-wide job site dedicated to flexible jobs.

Discussing the potential of flexible working to empower older workers, Tracey Eker asserts that, ‘Flexible working can be an ideal solution for older workers who working but would like the chance to also enjoy their life a bit more. There are many long-term unemployed workers who have been out of the workforce because of a lack of adequate flexible working but employers are actually desperate for their skills. Through Flexiworkforce we can connect these groups!

Flexiworkforce will be attending the upcoming ‘The 50+ Show’ in Glasgow this month as well as giving presentations on the potential of flexible working for older workers, including discussion with Jo Swinson, Cabinet Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, and the banking chain Santander.

Flexible Working Thought Leaders

Neil Patrick of 40 Plus Career Guru talks Flexible Working

neil patrick

Here at Flexiworkforce we aim to connect with the key thought leaders on workplace trends. Today, we spoke with Neil Patrick, the creator and editor of the popular blog 40pluscareerguru. Neil’s blog has quickly gained prominence as a one of the key online commentaries about career issues, particularly for mature professionals. Here’re our questions and his answers.

What is your background and why did you begin writing your blog, 40pluscareerguru.com?

I spent the first 20 years of my career in banking and finance. I initially worked for international banks, but later became a founding director of three fast growth financial businesses. Two were very successful. One was not. So I’ve gained a diverse experience of business within both large corporations and small entrepreneurial businesses. And critically of both success and failure.

More recently, I have transitioned from being an employee to a self-employed consultant. I also became fascinated by how the transformation of the employment landscape has passed most professionals by. Old ideas about our how we should manage our careers have been swept away by transformations in media, recruitment and the world of work. And the vast majority of people have been blissfully unaware of this.

Our jobs are so critical to our lives that I felt this subject demanded attention. It seemed that few people were paying attention to the perfect storm that had arisen through the collision of the digital age, global recession, globalisation and ageism. No-one seemed to have connected these dots and understood the big picture.

Particularly I noticed that my own peers, typically mature and accomplished professionals were virtually completely unaware of these changes. They had become incredibly vulnerable without really appreciating why or what to do about it.

These were the reasons I set up 40pluscareerguru. I wanted to inform people about these changes and what they needed to do to protect their futures. It’s a labour of love, but a mission that I feel is vital.

In your opinion, what are the main benefits that 40 plus employees bring to the multi-generational workforce?

I have written numerous posts about this subject. One of them is here and in it I set out the top 10 things which I think older employees have to offer.

One of the key strengths of older workers is that they are not on a mission to be the next big thing. They just want to do a good job. This brings a totally different attitude. They’ve seen success and failure so many times, that although they cannot easily show these things on their CVs, this life experience brings huge value to the teams they work with.

What do you see as the career priorities of over 40 employees? 

The over 40s are in the second half of their working lives. But they are in a far worse condition financially than their parents. The recession has wrecked their balance sheets at a stage of life when previously they would be heading towards a comfortable retirement.

In 2008 and the subsequent years, the professional middle classes in the US and Europe were struck by a tsunami so huge that it has devastated their personal assets.

Property asset values tumbled, investments had billions wiped off, pension plans shrivelled, savings interest rarely even matched inflation. All the while, living costs and particularly food and energy bills rose and rose. Hardly anyone in the professional classes became wealthier between 2008 and today.

In the words of one of my key collaborators, John Tarnoff in California:

There are many statistics available, but the most striking number to me is this one: 80 percent of us have saved less than $100,000 for our retirement. Given the economics of the last five years, and the prospects ahead of us, what this means is that the Boomers are going to have to keep working – and the problem there is that neither we nor society at large are prepared for us to remain in the work force.

Few are able to look forward to a comfortable retirement when they reach 65 unless they drastically revaluate what they are going to do to keep the money coming in.

To what extent does ageism remain an issue in the UK workforce? What could be done to improve this and enhance the prospects of over 40s? 

There’s very little data available to quantify this issue. Worse, it’s too easy for employers to sidestep their legal obligations regarding ageism. Ageism is not just a workplace issue, it’s a societal one.

However there is some data which is instructive. According to the European Social Survey in 2011, a major piece of research carried out across 28 countries, nearly two out of five Britons claim they have been ignored or patronised because of ageist views. Only in Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the figures worse.

One third of Britons think those over 70 are a burden on health services. Two out of five people in the UK say they have been shown a lack of respect because of their age. In the UK, youth is thought to end at 35 compared with people in Greece who said it ended at 52.

In the UK, 64% of people thought age discrimination is a ‘very serious or quite serious problem.’ Only in France, where the figure is 68%, did more people express concern.

The figures also reveal that in the UK, 41% of people thought that people aged 70 or over contributed little to the economy and in addition 36% thought that people over 70 were a burden on healthcare services.

According to the report, there were fears surrounding age discrimination in the workplace with around half of Britons interviewed who are aged over 50 saying they were concerned about employers showing preference to people in the their 20s.

In my view, ageism is that last of the ‘isms’ to become socially unacceptable. Only when it is taken as seriously as sexism and racism can we expect to see any significant improvement.

What is your opinion of the UK government’s recent changes to the right to request flexible working? Do you believe that the changes are a step in the right direction or are you of the view that more needs to be done to promote more progressive attitudes to working?

I think the new rules should be welcomed. But I expect little to change very quickly. Some enlightened employers have already embraced these new practices ahead of the legal requirement to do so and mostly their reports are positive.

Many more I think will drag their heels out of complacency and fear of the unknown. But gradually over time, I think flexible working arrangements will become more and more accepted as the norm and 10 or 15 years from now, we’ll look back at the 9-5 mentality as being archaic.

And personally I can’t wait for the day when I can get into my car at 8am and expect to be able to drive more than a couple of miles!

We’d like to thank Neil for his time and the insights he has shared with us. You can follow his blog here. He’s also on Twitter @Newcareerguru.

 Find UK-wide remote flexible working/home working opportunities on  flexiworkforce.com 

 

What Mary Portas’ ‘Silver Service’ Can Teach Us About 50+ Workers

Older Candidates Must Not Be ‘Written Off’ By Employers!

On Wednesday 11th, Channel 4 aired a new programme hosted by fashion broadcaster and retail consultant Mary Portas, Silver Service. In the past, Portas has expressed dissatisfaction at the the lack confidence that modern society has on the older generation, who she believes possess a lifetime of skills and experience that any employer would benefit from.

Unfortunately, however, this invaluable talent pool remains sorely underutilised. A tragic 30% of over 65s believe that they serve no purpose to society. And with ageism rife within the workforce, older workers often have a hard time getting into jobs that they are deemed ‘overqualified’ for, others feel forced to retire before they’re ready.

In an attempt to break down barriers, Portas devises a pop-up employment agency, with the aim of providing skilled older people with fulfilling, paid roles. She then provides mentoring to the team of worthy candidates she enlists,  Gloria, aged 71, Robert, aged 82,  John, aged 81, and Maureen, aged 73, and Annie, aged 77. The result is a valuable opportunity to show employers (and society in general) that the skills and know-how of older individuals should not be underestimated.

It is evident that the confidence of the 60+ candidates has been boosted by their experiences: ‘I haven’t past my sell by date by any means!’ remarks one woman.

Mary Portas’ Silver Service is not the first of its kind to be aired on Channel 4. Last September saw the Fabulous Fashionistas redefine the notion of ‘ageing gracefully’, proving that older people are just as valid and indispensable as their younger counterparts. The message is loud and clear- The older generation are skilled, experienced and feisty, and most certainly should never be written off by employers!

A Modern Retirement- Working to Live or Living to Work?

How flexible Working is Altering the Way We See Retirement

live to work

Around the world, 1 in 8 workers believe that they will never be affluent enough to fully retire from employment.

Within the UK the average 50-year-old intends to retire at the age of 61.5 years, having paid off their mortgage at 58.5. However, for many, this aspiration is unrealistic. In 2012, it was estimated that around 1.3 million people of retirement age were still in work. Similarly bleak studies have shown that many older workers are not convinced that their pension plan will allow them to live comfortably in retirement.

workhardhavefun

But perhaps it is necessary to rethink this situation. It should not be assumed that retirement aged workers continue working solely for the income their job provides. For others, their career provides them with fulfilment and satisfaction. That is, many employees over fifty are living to work, rather than working to live. Flexibility, key to maintaining a balance between life and work, is all the more necessary when one approaches retirement age.

Others may choose to volunteer their time; working for a cause they are committed to Jim Finnie, 61 from Perth spends his time volunteering as an adult literacy tutor, an opportunity which he finds extremely fulfilling:

“I feel that working as a volunteer adult literacy tutor is hugely rewarding. You tailor tuition and learning to learners’ preferences and the biggest buzz comes from witnessing them develop their skills and confidence from evident and measurable progress. To an extent you have a “captive” market as they’ve taken the hardest step of accepting they have development needs and they’ve come forward but they quickly see that learning can be so different from the traditional school environment which in all probability failed them. Learning can be great fun and learners always turn up for sessions expressing the sort of gratitude that is invariably lacking in paid work. Everyone has the potential to be literate. It just might take a different way, or a bit longer, to unlock it!”

For the ‘Millennial’ generation, with uncertain financial prospects, it is certain that the average age retirement will be pushed back later and later. Many may never fully retire. As average life-expectancy continues to increase worldwide, the multi-generational workforce will become increasingly diverse, with older workers being highly sought after for their skills and experience.

Flexibility should be the goal for over fifties aiming to retain their independence, or perhaps even strike out on a new career path, without having to endure the taxing demands of a full-time career or conventional working hours.