Life Begins at 50

  • Research reveals that 30% choose to “Career Shift” in later life
  • More than half (55%) of today’s older generation never anticipate ceasing work completely 

As life expectancy and pensions age continues to rise – HSBC research reveals that nearly one third (30%) of the UK’s 21.3 million over 50s have taken the plunge and “career shifted” in their later working years.  This figure increases to 41% amongst 60 to 70 years old. 

In a survey of over 2,000 of the UK’s over 50’s, HSBC found that 21% of those who have changed their career did so as a result of being made redundant – affecting more men than women in this generation (27% and 16% respectively). However, others chose to “career shift” for more positive reasons with 15% simply longing for a change of direction and 11% looking for a career that was less pressurised and demanding.  

When asked why they would consider changing their job at the age when people might consider slowing down, 29% said for a new challenge and 27% said to pursue a long held ambition or to gain income from a personal skill or hobby. 

Of those who have actually made the switch:
–       75% made a complete career change – e.g. teacher retraining to become a florist
–        13% “down shifted” their skills – e.g. solicitor who now only writes wills
–        6% “up shifted” their roles – e.g. police officer to fraud investigator 

The remaining 7% used the skills gained in their career up until then to become a consultant or adviser in the same or a complementary field.  Self-employment or entrepreneurialism was a popular choice for those choosing to “career shift”.

Striving for retirement?

However, to conclude that today’s over 50’s are embarking on their career of choice to enjoy the final years of employment before retirement would be wrong.  More than half (55%) of today’s older generation never anticipate ceasing work completely.  This sentiment grows as people age (54% of 50 – 60 year olds and 57% of 61 – 70 year olds) with 60% intending to do so to compensate for the shortfall in their retirement income (55% of 50 – 60 year olds and 67% of 61 – 70 year olds). 

Greater Satisfaction

While embarking on a new challenge is the key driver for over 50s considering a career change, 26% said that a second career would have to bring them a greater degree of satisfaction.  And for 27% this required a less stressful job – a prerequisite that decreases with age (30% for 50-60 year olds and 22% for 61-70 year olds) – and for 24% this meant options for flexible working.

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