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Redundancy and boredom push over 50s to change career

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
06/02/2017
Three quarters of UK employees are ‘re-inventing themselves’ in later life and embarking on a new career, research suggests.

Multiple careers are becoming the norm with research by Co-op Funeralcare revealing that by the time workers reach the age of 50, more than half (55%) have had at least three professions.

One in six employees have switched occupations after turning 45. Redundancy was the most common reason with over a fifth (22%) saying this was the trigger for a career change.

Some 15% were motivated by boredom, while another 15% said they wanted to do something that interested them personally as well as professionally.

For some – 13% of over 50s – they feel they haven’t yet achieved their career goals. However, 45% of UK workers who haven’t achieved their career goals after the age of 50, don’t feel they ever will.

Just under 10% said they wanted to earn more money which, according to the Co-op, suggests as people progress in their careers, they’re more interested in whether or not they enjoy the work, rather than focussing on financial gain.

The figures also revealed the average expected age for retirement of UK working adults stands at 64. The Co-op survey found 10% of over 50s don’t think they’ll be in a financial position to retire.

Jenny Atkinson of Co-op Funeralcare said: “As we’re living longer, our work is playing an increasingly dominant role in our lives. With some having entered the workplace at 16, and our data showing the new expected retirement age to be 64, this means many people will have been working for almost 50 years.

“At the Co-op, we’re passionate about promoting a ‘life well lived’, and helping people to consider how they can get the most enjoyment out of their work. Switching careers and re-training is a way of keeping your mind active.

Steve Morris of distance learning site, learndirect, added: “It’s fantastic that this new research has revealed that people are looking for a more varied working life.

“It’s never too late to re-train, and people who are thinking about switching careers should remember they have many transferable skills that would lend themselves to a variety of other positions.”

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