On the scrapheap at 50? Well you’re not

by | 05.08.21

The covid crisis has been the cause of many, many people losing their jobs and currently the unemployment rate is just under 5% which means that about one in twenty people who want a job can’t find one. Over 50s are almost three times more likely to be amongst the unemployed. According to the office for National Statistics three out of 10 unemployed people over-50 have been out of work for at least twelve months, while a fifth (20 per cent) have been out of work for at least two years.


Looking for a new job at any age is tricky but if you are over 50 it becomes harder. The most important attribute you need as you get older is confidence in your own ability, you have so much to offer a future employer, but you must believe in yourself. Here are some of the attributes you have that a 25-year-old doesn’t.


You have the skills and experience needed

Older workers bring a level of experience, critical thinking and sheer knowledge that cannot be taught. In some jobs it takes a decade or longer for workers to gain the level of skills needed to do their jobs effectively. Young people have a bullish attitude and make mistakes, older people know what questions to ask.

You are a “stayer”

In 2019 the average length of service for workers aged 55-64 in all industries was double that of workers aged 25-34 years. Businesses like stability, they don’t want a high turnover of staff so there is a real advantage to them employing an older worker who maybe has a family to support or ‘a reason to go to work’. Younger workers tend to change jobs more often, they like to come and go more frequently.


You have a really strong work ethic

Most businesses we talk to say older workers are always the first ones to arrive at work and remain focussed throughout the day, older workers rarely miss work because of sickness, even if they work in a fast-paced, physically demanding role, young people definitely do!


You build strong relationships for your employer

Because you are a ‘stayer’ you get to know the business inside and outside. More importantly you know the businesses clients, you have dealt with them for years. This proves that you are capable of not only retaining business for your employer but also that you may be able to bring business in. Any employer will be delighted with this ability and you have the experience to offer it.


You’re not afraid of technology

Because older workers did not grow up with technology there is a perception that they are afraid of it and are slower at learning new computer skills. The thing is this is a load of rubbish. No, you did not grow up with technology – you’ve had to learn it! You did not have an iPad when you were three – you’ve had to learn computers at a later stage in your life. You are not afraid of technology, actually you have been forced to embrace it.


You know that the best teams are multigenerational

There is strong evidence that mixed aged teams in the workplace are more productive than teams of workers of the same age group. This is common sense; a team always needs someone sensible in it. Your maturity provides this. If a team consisted of everyone under 25 can you imagine what would be going on? Well one thing I know is that the first hour of each day would be spent talking about what they did the night before and the latest fashion. You would bring a balance to any team and therefore make that team more successful.


You have lots of knowledge to pass on

Older workers play a critical role in training the next generation of workers. You have so much knowledge to give it is priceless and employers are always grateful for this. Not only are you capable of training less experienced staff on processes and procedures, you are also able to advise staff on office protocol and why certain behaviour is acceptable, whilst other types of behaviour are not appropriate. Employers need support with staff training and you can provide this free of charge. What could be more attractive to a company?


You have customer service skills are second to none

Businesses frequently tell us how their customers appreciate dealing with long-term workers. By a company keeping their staff for many years it sends a message that the business values it’s workers and therefore must value the service it provides and its customers. Your knowledge dealing with customers is invaluable. You have many, many years’ experience where you have dealt with all types of people. There is probably no situation you haven’t dealt with, or type of customer you’ve not encountered in your career. You are able to deal with all types of situations. Good, bad or indifferent. This knowledge and the skills you have are invaluable, always remember that, it’s something no employer can buy.


You can attract more business

Because you are mature, experienced, sensible, calm, reliable and responsible customers will return to you again and again. Age brings many wonderful qualities some I’ve listed above; they are all very good in the workplace and valued by employers. More importantly these qualities are valued by customers and therefore they attract more business, bigger orders, the retention of business and happier bosses. You can do this! You have the ability to make a business more successful. It’s not even something you have to work at you have the abilities naturally. They come with age. So, believe in yourself.



You’ve got a good aura

Because of your age you have a great aura that tends to be poised and self-assured. The best employee a business can have is someone who can bring in a mixture of confidence and expertise. That combo shines with age. You will bring energy to a new employer which is priceless. Never, ever underestimate what you have to offer.


Your cognitive capacity is priceless

As an older worker you have the whole set of mental abilities that an employer looks for in a great employee, these are built in. You have management skills, leadership skills, communication skills and most importantly empathy. These qualities keep developing as you age and employers know this. All you need to do is recognise this yourself.


Age is only a number always remember that. We have laws in this country which outlaw age discrimination so you shouldn’t worry about your age. One of the things you should always believe is that you are as good as anyone else and probably have more to offer. Go for it – reach for the stars – they are there for the taking.


Good Luck


Angela Burton