50 is the new prime for careers – how can employers attract these valuable workers?

Happy mature woman sitting at computer, working at home

Time to slow down, retire, take it easy? Today’s over-50s are doing anything but slowing down, says Lyndsey Simpson, founder and CEO of 55/Redefined.

55/Redefined is on a mission to stamp out ageism and add ten productive years to life. The rapidly growing national tech platform offers a jobs board, tailored career and financial advice through to lifestyle inspiration exclusively for the over-50s, alongside services to employers, including Age Inclusive Accreditation, enabling organisations to become an employer of choice for over 50s talent.

55/Redefined has raised £1.4 million from both private and public investment so far, proving the appetite for change in UK workplaces and in society to stamp out ageism and better meet the needs of the over-50s demographic.

Research from 55/Redefined found that 76 per cent of over 55s feel younger than their age and more than a third (36 per cent) have pursued a new career, relationship or hobby/passion since the milestone.

“50 is the new prime of life and careers,” Simpson said. “The majority of over 50s are free from a lot of the stresses and obligations people can face in their 20s and 30s – children have grown and moved out and over 50s tend to be more affluent than their younger counterparts – 60 per cent of 50-70 year olds in the UK have over £250,000 of disposable income, excluding property and pension assets.

“Many over 50s are in a great position to finally go for that career change, or are freer to focus on rapid career progression.”

The platform’s 2021 study, ‘Shut out, Forced out and Overlooked’ found that 56 per cent of employees want to continue working beyond the age of 65, but face barriers, including that 65 per cent of employers encourage retirement at legal retirement age or before.

Simpson added: “Simply put, over 50s are nowhere near ready to slow down or retire. Employees in their 50s have 30+ years of industry experience and expertise – a benefit to any business.

“We are set to release a new report that builds on the findings of Shut Out, Forced Out and Overlooked. Among our key findings has been a substantial appetite from over-50s for unretirement to be made an accessible choice, and that there are opportunities for employers to better meet the needs of these valuable workers and convince them to remain in the workplace.”

How can employers attract and retain over 50s talent?

Engage the age

Get to know your existing over 50 workforce – be proactive in asking them what they want and how best you can support them to remain engaged in work for longer.

Be bias-active

Employers also need to be bias-active by working to understand the level of bias that may already exist in their organisation against age, then delivering training and insight tailored to the business.

Our research found that younger HR decision makers are significantly (39 per cent) less inclined to recruit over 55s compared to their older counterparts, showing that bias can be subtle and difficult to recognise.

Employers can also actively measure and promote age diversity as part of D&I initiatives. Treating age as a D&I initiative will help to bring the issue front-of-mind for decision makers, ensuring it has the same investment – time, thought and money – as race, gender, sexuality and other characteristics.

Create new flexible roles or offer flexible working

Although many employees over 55 want to continue working, older workers value their time outside of work too, either for commitments or lifestyle preferences. 62 per cent of over 55s would like a reduction in working hours.

Offering permanent roles at three or four days per week, flexible working patterns, through to rehiring retired professionals for key periods of the year on flexible contracts, may appeal to and attract experienced and skilled over 50s who are looking for more flexibility.

Invest in retraining and retention

90 per cent of employees aged 55-65 believe they have transferable skills to move roles and/or industry if the employer was prepared to offer technical training.

In the majority of industries, skill and knowledge requirements are constantly shifting due to new technologies and industry practices – investing in retraining and upskilling, staying ahead of the curve, can be hugely beneficial to business success and growth. This also creates opportunities to hire beyond direct industry experience and technical fit, to other beneficial skill sets and cultural fit.

As well as considering creating new ways of recruiting and assessing applicants that help to encourage inclusivity for all, employers can benefit from focusing on retaining experienced over 50s employees who have an intimate knowledge of the company and its industry.

About the author

Lyndsey SimpsonLyndsey Simpson is the founder and CEO of 55/Redefined, an organisation that connects the UK’s active over 50s with tailored products, services and advice spanning jobs, finance, legal and lifestyle.

55/Redefined’s mission is to end ageism – in both workplaces and society – and add ten productive years to life, while supporting over-50s to get exactly what they want out of life.

Recognising a gap in the market for a brand that answers the call of the ‘bet-your-ass-I-can’ over 50s, Lyndsey set up 55/Redefined to fly the flag for those who may be getting older, but have no intention of slowing down.

Lyndsey has been recognised as one of the UK’s Top 35 Business Women by Management Today and The Sunday Times, and is listed among ‘UK’s 50 Most Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs’ by FreeOfficeFinder.

View our interview with Lyndsey here.

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