The Retirement Rainbow


For many workers, the prospect of retiring and being able to spend more time on the golf course or with their grandchildren remains a distant dream. Instead of drawing closer each year, it seems to slip further away with every year that passes. Like a rainbow, retirement seems to be always out of reach for some employees. According to a survey by HSBC, published in September 2013, 20% of UK workers think that they will never stop working. This figure increases to 36% for respondents who live alone.


Optimism about retirement seems to dwindle with age, according to the survey. Only 15% of survey participants in the 25 to 34 age group thought that they would need to continue working compared with 20% of those in the 55 to 64 age group.

Lack of financial planning for retirement is one reason that individuals need to continue working. Around 40% of respondents reported that they had not made adequate or any financial provision for retirement. However, many people like the social interaction and mental challenges that work presents and are reluctant to give these benefits up simply because of their age.

The challenge for workers who want to continue working into their 60s and 70s, or even beyond, can be age discrimination on the part of potential employers. The default retirement age of 65 was abolished in 2011. Since then, workers have had the right to continue working beyond the traditional retirement age. However, studies suggest that age discrimination continues in some industries. A survey carried out by Astbury Marsden suggests that age discrimination remains rife in the City of London. Only 22% of the financial professionals polled believed that their employer was very committed to tackling age discrimination in the workplace.

This attitude is in stark contrast to that of a number of large retailers. Tesco, Asda and B&Q have all run successful campaigns to attract and retain older employees. These companies value the commitment and experience that older workers bring to their jobs.

No matter what job role they are applying for, there are strategies that older people can adopt to help them overcome any potential discrimination:

–          Emphasise your capabilities. In your CV and during the interview, highlight the work experience and knowledge built up over the years that set you apart from other candidates.

–          Get to grips with technology. If you have not already done so, learn as much as you can about computers and mobile devices. Being unable to work a computer can harm your chances of employment in many fields. Ensure that you include your technical skills on your CV to help alleviate any concerns that the company may have about your ability to understand and learn about new technology.

–          Use technology to access job opportunitiesMany jobs are now advertised online. You can even go down to the local level in online searches. For instance you can do a search for the latest jobs in Stockport to see a range of listings in that area.

–          Practice your interview skills. Many older people find themselves job-hunting after taking early retirement or voluntary severance packages. If it has been many years since you have had a job interview, set time aside to practice your interview skills. Your Essential Personnel recruitment consultant can help by giving you feedback on how you come across at interview, allowing you to enhance your presentation.

Steven Pearson is an employment consultant who specialises in placing older people. He enjoys helping people use their skills for new opportunities and his articles mainly appear on employment blogs.

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