An older worker’s guide to employment

People don't have a 'best before' date

Research shows that, by 2022, one in three people of working age in Wales will be age 50 and over.  (Welsh Government population projections, 2014 based)

We no longer have a statutory retirement age in place and you can choose, or you may need to, work longer to help boost your pension. Work can be an important way of helping you live a more financially comfortable and healthier and happier life. It can mean you keep involved with people and give you a sense of purpose too.

Now more than ever, it is clear that older workers are a vital part of the workforce and future of our economy. So if you’re around 50 or over and looking for ways to stay in employment, or find a new career - now’s the time to prepare.

What is an older worker?

People are living and staying healthy for longer and a good job can be an important part of a healthy and fulfilled life. The average age of leaving the labour market has increased over the past two decades, but it is still lower than it was in 1950 and is not keeping pace with the increases in life expectancy. (Life Expectancy - ONS 2014-based projections’)

Surprisingly to some, an older worker is defined as someone who is aged 50 and over and yet you may feel you still have lots to achieve!

And with evidence proving that cognitive performance does not generally show any marked decrease until after the age of 70 (Health and Safety Executive 2011), as an older worker with decades of experience, you are an increasingly important asset for employers across Wales.

Why now?

Data shows the number of workers in Wales aged over 50 has risen by almost a quarter - 24.8% - between 2006 and 2016 (Priority Sector Statistics table, September 2017). It’s clear you are a valuable group of people, fundamental to the Welsh economy.

What is being done?

The Welsh Government has launched the ‘People Don't Have A ‘Best Before’ Date’ campaign, which is demonstrating your value to the workplace.

What can I do?

If you’re nearing 50 or older here are some simple steps to help you stay ahead of the game.

1. Take a look at what skills you have and how these can help you stay in work or start a new career.

2. Update your skills and look for training and learning opportunities.

3. Use your skills to look for a new job that’s right for you. If it’s been a while since you searched for a job, there are new ways to get noticed as well as more traditional routes.

Meet Tony

Tony Hendrickson, 54 from Canton, is a Bike hire manager at Welsh bike charity, Pedal power. He started working at the charity a year ago after being made redundant from his previous job.

As a keen cyclist he said he was attracted to the company because of its inclusive values and says: “Pedal Power doesn’t see age - it sees the individual.”

Read Tony's story...


If you’re interested, or even worried about how to package yourself to a perspective employer, or don’t know where to start to make changes to stay in employment, we’ve put together this toolkit to help you on your way.

This pack includes advice on planning for your future including understanding how your skills and experience are valuable, ways to embrace flexible working, job searching, interview preparations, CV writing tips and perhaps thinking of a steadier transition into retirement when you’re ready.

A toolkit for the over 50's: Helping you plan for work and life  (PDF 2.75MB, Link opens in a new window)

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