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Changing Careers At 50+
Around 66% of people in the boomer generation expect to work past 65 in the U.S, and in the UAE, the age limit of 65 year can be increased depending on a person’s credentials and expertise. In countries like the U.S, the main reason for continued work is economic (i.e. employees may not have enough funds to live off their savings) but the situation is similar in the UAE, where the government is currently working on reforms “to address retirement concerns, especially adequate funding.” Workers aged 50 and above still have 15 or 20 good years ahead of them workwise, which makes it more likely for them to change careers or companies later in life. If you wish to find a job that better matches your interests or that will give your life more meaning, you may find the following tips useful.
New Jobs For Those Wishing To Make A Change
When making a job switch in your 50s or later, it's important to consider new opportunities that may not have existed 10 (or even five) years ago. These include jobs in global relations, social media and cybersecurity. Some jobs will require just a little extra training – for instance, social media jobs will require familiarity with tools such as Wordpress and HootSuite. More technical jobs (such as those in cybersecurity) will require detailed training. However, provided employees have an interest in technology, there is no reason why they cannot pursue further education online while making their transition from one profession to another.
What Is The Situation Like In The UAE?
The majority of the UAE workforce lies within the 25-54 age range. However, there are over half a million workers aged 55 to 64 and around 140,000 workers aged 65 and over. With lifespans expected to continue extending, it is logical that the number of older workers will also logically grow – in part out of necessity. Research by Career Change shows that although over 80% of people aged over 45 wish to make a career change, only 6% do so. Inertia is one reason, but fear of outdated skills is another vital factor. Again, the opportunities offered by specific companies for continued training should be a priority when seeking out jobs – this is the case even for younger job hunters, who should grow in skill and technique instead of getting ‘stuck’ in current roles.
Top Growing Occupations
Workers over 50 who wish to make a change can consider a new career in a fast growing industry. Although exact figures for the UAE are unavailable, research by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures suggests that one of the fastest growing employment sectors for older workers lies in teaching – which makes sense considering that older employees have both expertise in their respective specialities and (usually) experience in aspects such as teamwork. Other top occupations include nursing, home health carers, counsellors/psychologists, and financial regulation.
Relying on Existing Networks
One big edge that older workers have on their younger counterparts, is a big network based on years of dealing with clients, colleagues and more senior mentors. This network can prove to be the steppingstone that can enlighten seniors on new opportunities in their own or other sectors. Experienced colleagues will know of vacancies and new ventures, but many will also be aware of the right bridging courses required to facilitate the leap from one profession to another.
As is the case in the rest of the world, employees in the UAE sometimes wish to extend their working life. This may be spurred on by economic need, but often it is motivated by a desire to remain active in the workforce and to continue to contribute one’s vital skills and knowledge. Networking, continued training, and the exploration of new career fields can help those aged over 50 find a newer, more meaningful job that better matches their life’s passion.
This article is contributed by freelance writer Jane Sandwood.