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Getting curious and creative about….Mid-Life Career Reviews

Part 1 – Why bother, isn’t it just the same as a ‘normal’ review?

“Becky I know you specialise in helping people plan for the life changes associated with retirement. I’m not ready to retire, but I definitely can’t continue doing what I’m doing in the way I’m doing it for the next 20-30 years.”

This was how a recent, 48-year old client approached me to request coaching. So it’s made me curious…

·     Just how many people aged between 45-60 are in a career which is okay; it pays reasonably well, they feel valued by their organisation on more days than not, they like most of their colleagues and can tolerate the rest?

·     How many of these people yearn for something different but either feel trapped in their current position of perceived security or are completely unclear about what retirement could look like for them so they aren’t sure what steps to take between now and then?

How many do you reckon?

This is just one reason why I believe that introducing professional Mid Life Career Reviews into organisations will help both the individual and the company they work for. The other reasons I think it’s a vital step for employers in the next 12 months are: –

·     Current estimates state their will be a major skills shortage in coming years, with 14 million vacancies in the UK, and only 7 million younger workers coming through to fill them. We need to engage and motivate older workers, in the way they need it, as they continue to be crucial to organisational success.

·     People are already working for longer – the over 50s labour market has been growing steadily and by 2033 a third of the UK workforce will be 50+. Someone aged 50 today is very different to someone aged 50 in the 1930’s when the notion of retirement was invented. We need to move with the times at the same time as catering for how older workers’ needs may differ as they age, e.g. health, caring responsibilities.

·     Older workers are changing in that they don’t just want to work for the money, they want to be part of something, they want to continue to learn and they have so much more to offer. Age discrimination, either conscious or unconscious can get in the way more often than we’d care to admit, so we need to step back and understand what these changing needs are in order to help older workers be at their best.

·     Retirement patterns are changing as retirement ages have not risen in line with the rise in healthy life expectancy. Although the “cliff edge” option is still the most common, phased retirements are growing in popularity with people reducing their hours before retirement, or doing work on a consultancy basis in later life. Employment policies and practices, as well as management behaviour need to reflect this shift.

·     Many people don’t know what they need financially to retire, even fewer know what they will actually have and it’s widely reported that millenials and generation z will never be able to afford to retire as they will see their parents do. Financial education is crucial for people to be able to make sound career decisions that continue to support them and their families.

So a Mid Life Career Review is not just the same as a ‘normal’ review. It’s not the same because it needs to be: –

1.    About the whole person’s life; not only their employment and learning needs, but also their life circumstances and aspirations, which leads to number 2;

2.    Carried out by people who are trained and equipped to deal with discussing peoples’ lives, e.g. finances, health, life expectancy and understanding rights in relation to age, flexible working, caregiving etc.

3.    Less organisationally focused than a standard review may be

I’m curious; who already does this in their organisation? Can you see a benefit? What do you think could get in the way?

This is Part 1 in a four-part series to celebrate Learning at Work Week, 2017 – getting curious and creative about The Mid Life Career Review.

Part 2 – ‘So what is a Mid Life Career Review?’

Part 3 – ‘How do Mid Life Career Reviews help employers and employees?’

Part 4 – ‘How can I engage in Mid Life Career Reviews in my organisation?’

Contact becky@blulake.co.uk 07714 329339 for more info.

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