When I first began delivering outplacement programmes, I delivered a programme which was sponsored by the government to help people back into work. It was a year long programme focussed on training and developing people in the area of Supply Change Management. I was engaged to support people in the job search element of the programme. The participants were quite diverse in terms of age, experience and backgrounds.
I remember a conversation I had with one of the participants called Joe, because it’s one I have time and time again. Joe was in his early 60’s and although he was going through the motions of the programme, he had the belief because of his age that at the end of it organisations wouldn’t be interested in employing him and would choose younger candidates over him.
My thinking was different: Joe’s CV demonstrated his loyalty to the organisations he had previously worked with and had actually worked for his most recent employer for over 30 years before his position had been made redundant. Although he’d been with the same organisation his career had been quite progressive and he’d advanced in terms of the roles and responsibilities he’d undertaken. Along with his CV demonstrating his loyalty and ability, it also demonstrated his ‘stay ability’.
To my way of thinking these factors made Joe an attractive candidate to employers, yes perhaps he only had four or five years before retirement but this is actually quite substantial taking into account how much people move around in their careers today, someone younger may perhaps see an opportunity of joining an organisation as a stepping stone to the next stage of their career and will use this experience to facilitate this.
Today’s job market is very different to that of when Joe began his career, when a job was for life. I actually think this is quite positive because it allows a flow which supports people at different life career stages and when people like Joe want to join an organisation with a commitment to staying with them for four or five years, the organisation will recognise this as being a genuine commitment.
Joe told me our conversation helped him rethink his situation and he approached his job search with a more positive approach, he now recognised just how much he had to offer a potential employer and felt more confident in communicating this.
And of course should Joe choose to do something different, because of longevity there’s space for a whole new career between retirement and death and with the diverse range of skills and experience he’s developed throughout his career I suspect there might be a number of interesting options available to him.
Published with client’s permission. Name has been changed.
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