Careers for women over 50
If you’re a woman over 50 looking to kickstart a new career then you’re not alone. Over the past 20 years, the employment rate for people between the age of 50 and 64 has risen from 56% to 73%. In the past couple years alone, with the rise of COVID, we have witnessed an even greater increase in the number of over 50s rejoining the workforce. In fact, between 2020 and 2021, over 175,000 over 50s returned to work.
There are a number of reasons why you may be looking for a new career later in life, be that returning to the workforce after a career break or pursuing a new career path entirely. Whatever your reason, at FDM, we have years of experience supporting women with their journey back to the workplace and we want to share our knowledge with you. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of restarting your career at 50, what you need to consider when looking for a new career, as well as some of the best jobs for women over 50.
The benefits of restarting your career at 50
There are countless benefits to restarting or changing your career at 50, including:
- Planning for your future - Taking on a new role later in your career can be an excellent way to earn more money and plan for your future, be that making more pension contributions and planning for your retirement, paying off your mortgage or providing for your family.
- Learning new skills - Starting a new role provides you with ample opportunities to learn new skills and refresh your existing skill set, too. This could include learning on the job or retraining completely, such as enrolling on specific training courses or qualifications.
- Finding purpose - Working in a job you enjoy offers a sense of achievement and helps keep boredom at bay.
What are some of the challenges for women over 50 reentering the workforce?
Here are some additional factors to consider and obstacles to overcome when looking to switch jobs in your adult life:
- Childcare - If you are reentering the workforce after having taken a break to look after your children, you may need to look into new childcare options or find a role that accommodates flexible working arrangements, such as remote working. Read our top tips on returning to work after caring duties.
- Confidence - Studies reveal that one of the key barriers for over 50s to overcome when reentering the workforce is confidence and motivation. For instance, many over 50s will go into an interview with the mindset that they will not get the job due to internalised ageism in the workplace, but this is counteractive and will only reflect a lack of confidence.
- Gender and age discrimination - Unfortunately, that’s not to say gender and age bias are not still prevelant in some businesses. This type of discrimination could impact your success during the interview process or career progression going forward. At FDM, ourselves and our clients are committed to supporting women in the workplace, nurturing female talent and addressing the gender pay gap. Read our Gender Pay Gap Report for more information.
- Upskilling - As a woman over 50, you are sure to be equipped with a depth of knowledge and professional experience, which makes you the ideal candidate for any job. However, it’s important to remember that your skills can become outdated, particularly in a technical field, and you may require some light training to get you back up-to-speed.
- Digital skills - It is common for older candidates to lack confidence in their IT abilities or lack these skills altogether. Nowadays, basic digital skills are a must-have and women over 50 should invest some time to get to grips with the basics and demonstrate their skills to potential employers.
- Embrace change - Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Working in a new environment can seem daunting but if you’re willing to embrace new ways of working and are ready to face new challenges, you can make your transition into a new role that little bit easier.
"Following a career break, women can feel out of touch with current industry standards, terminology and technology, their career gap creating a confidence gap with many returning at a more junior level. Returners are a rich, diverse, and largely untapped talent pool that can support businesses in closing their gender pay gap whilst bringing in a skilled, diverse and creative workforce."
-Sarah Mavius, Head of Returners Programme at FDM
Top 6 Careers for women over 50
So, why not step out of your comfort zone and find success in a new and exciting career path? Here are just a few of the career opportunities available to women over 50:
1. Project Manager
Project Management is growing in popularity with 89% of organisations now having at least one project management office (PMO), and 50% having more than one. Working in Project Management involves leading and coordinating a team to complete a project or achieve a common goal. Working as a Project Manager could see you contributing to a range of different industries to match your interests, such as construction, HR, engineering, finance and technology.
Project Management is the ideal role for anyone with experience in leadership with excellent communication, organisational and time management skills. Best of all, 61% of companies offer role-specific training and 47% provide dedicated career development programmes. This means it’s now easier than ever to launch your career in Project Management without prior experience.
2. Business Analyst
Are you a natural problem-solver with a keen eye for detail and exceptional numerical skills? If so, Business Analysis could be the perfect role for you. Business Analysts are responsible for analysing company data and documentation to identify opportunities where business operations or processes can be improved. It’s a highly rewarding career: you can see the impact of your work first-hand in the success of your company.
Business Analysis is not a technical role, which means it’s more accessible and does not require a specific undergraduate degree; however, relevant qualifications, general business knowledge or experience can be beneficial.
It’s never too late to start teaching. It’s actually very common for career-changers to enter the educational profession and they are welcomed with open arms. With additional professional experience, you can offer a different perspective and valuable transferable skills to your students. Yet, teaching is a two-way street. You’ll also gain a high level of satisfaction and fulfilment from becoming a teacher and learn from your pupils.
Whether it’s primary or secondary school level, working in teaching gives you the opportunity to make a real difference in your community and influence the next generation. You’ll require the appropriate qualifications to become a teacher, including Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), but there’s no age limit!
Working in a school also enables you to specialise in a chosen subject area. For instance, if you have a passion for technology, why not apply for an IT or Computer Science teaching role?
4. Risk, Regulation and Compliance Analyst
Reports reveal that only 54% of SMEs believe they are fully GDPR compliant and the main reason for this is the lack of skills and awareness required to maintain compliance. As such, the demand for Risk, Regulation and Compliance (RRC) Analysts is on the rise.
RRC Analysts are responsible for keeping companies and their customers safe from cyber threats and security breaches. Unlike similar professions, RRC does not require specific qualifications or experience in the field, although this can be beneficial. Previous experience in other professions, such as the legal or financial industry, can also be useful as you’ll require data handling and documentation skills.
5. Administrative Assistant
If you have experience working in any type of office environment, you’ll have the ideal qualities for working as an Administrative Assistant. Your main responsibilities will include answering calls, welcoming visitors, scheduling appointments, filing and other general office duties. If you do not have previous experience in administration, there’s no need to worry as it’s a fairly straightforward role that you can pick up on the job.
The next logical step in your career could also be an Office Manager where you’ll be responsible for overseeing administrative teams and coordinating office operations, or a Personal Assistant where you’ll carry out an administrative role for someone else - maybe even a celebrity!
6. Cloud Engineer
According to Amazon Web Services (AWS), cloud will become the most in-demand digital skill by 2025, so it’s the right time to consider a career in cloud. A job in the digital field typically offers flexible working hours and the option to work remotely if required, which makes Cloud Engineering a fantastic option for parents or those with caring duties.
Unlike the common misconception suggests, you don’t need years of experience or a related degree to become a Cloud Engineer. There are plenty of entry-level certifications available to you, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Internships or work experience are always an option if you want to build your confidence before beginning your journey into this niche, technical role.
Now, where do you start?
If you don’t know where to start or are struggling to find a job to suit you, we recommend applying to a dedicated careers programme. The FDM Returners to Work Programme is designed to help people just like you step back into a rewarding career with exceptional training programmes to revamp your skillset, as well as work placements with our industry-leading clients.
The government offers advice and support for older workers, such as information about mid-life MOTs and retirement plans. Additionally, at FDM, we offer support and development programmes to guide you through your journey, from access to additional online resources to a supportive community to help along the way.
Does this sound right for you? Find out more about the FDM Returners to Work Programme.