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How to bounce back after a midlife redundancy.

This first appeared in Yahoo! News >

Losing your job at any time is likely to present people with significant internal and external barriers. Confidence being a big one. But there also tends to be an assumption that it might be bad to lose a job at an older age.

Anna Baréz-Brown gives her advice on how to bounce back with confidence, and turn a setback like this into opportunity.

The world is changing so much, and the systems and pace are very different to when 40-50 year olds were entering the workplace. Advancements, particularly in tech, mean that positions have evolved and now rely heavily on new approaches that you may not be familiar with or have little understanding of. This can be really tricky to navigate.

At Shine, last year we ran a study of 600 women which showed that of those facing an uncertain future, many of these highly intelligent senior women, have reacted to the situation by focusing on their professional and personal development. In fact, six in ten women were investing time upping their technical or craft skills. Around four in ten were learning to be better bosses by spending time on leadership techniques.

One in four were working with a careers coach and one in five with a life coach, so there is an appetite for bespoke guidance and support for this demographic particularly.

Are older (40s/50s) job candidates overlooked in certain industries?

There are industries such as advertising and tech where you feel that being middle aged isn’t an advantage, but I wouldn’t say they’re overlooked and it is very dependent on the specific role that they’re recruiting for. For example companies are less likely to hire a 20 year old to fill a management role, even in these industries.

Tech is difficult because it is so fast moving. So coming out of a job and going back in can be tricky. Advertising used to be very ageist but this is something we’ve seen dramatically improve in recent years.

What advice can you offer for people who lose a job in middle age?

This age group is often undervalued but they can bring a huge amount to an organisation, so it is important not to lose sight of that. Be confident and see it as an advantage, because it is! If you have children they’re likely to be older so you’re not sleep deprived and you’re being a role model to them.

You will have far more refined skills, particularly in people management and nurturing the team that younger candidates will still be developing. It is these attributes that make a team successful and thrive.

From the clients we work with we have definitely seen that when they reach 40-50, and a certain band/status within an organisation, this is when they really start enjoying their work. From 30-40s the workplace is still competitive, and they’re likely to be dealing with more inner gremlins at this stage. 

We’ve found that individuals who fall within this age bracket, become real gems of their companies, and employers are realising it. Not only do they understand their job inside out, and are hugely capable, they also have life experience behind them, and they understand people really well. This nurturing element is crucial to the workplace in bringing teams together. We have found there is a real eagerness from the women we work with to pass on their knowledge and be role models for the younger generations.

So, be confident, find the right recruiter for you, one who understands your core values, and what you want out of a job. You should consider investing in your personal development, whatever your age, and don’t be shy to use your network and reach out and connect with people. This will help remind you that you are relevant and have a place in the world, and that’s incredibly validating.

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