Over 50s choose a new career over retirement

Life begins at 50 for over half of the older generation, according to a new study which claims that nearly a third of the UK’s 21.3 million over 50s have taken the plunge and embarked on a new career in their later working years.

Surprisingly this figure increases to 41% amongst 60 to 70 year olds. In the study by the HSBC which polled over 2,000 of the UK’s over 50’s it found that redundancy was one of the key reason for starting again in a new career (21%). Losing your job and choosing to ‘career shift’ interestingly affected 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 for example teacher retraining or to become a florist whilst 13% “down shifted” their skills for example a solicitor who now only writes wills whilst 6% “up shifted” their roles for example a 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 is another popular choice for those choosing to embark upon a new carer.

The over 50s won’t just do anything, however. According to the research there must be job satisfaction (26%). And for 27% this requires 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.

It isn’t all about choice, however. Money is a key driver with many of the older generation admitting that a pension shortfall meant they had to get a job. Incredibly, more than half (55%) of the over 50s never anticipate ceasing work completely. A sentiment that 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).
David Wells, head of pensions, savings and investments at HSBC said: “As the requirement for people to work longer becomes more apparent it appears that the over 50s are embracing this head on and pursuing the careers they have always wanted. Many it seem are doing this to fill a shortfall in retirement income, but equally many are looking to embrace new skills and challenges that may now only become possible after careful financial planning during their earlier working life.”

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