Jeremy Hunt made the provocative, and to me, patronising comment that the over-50s need to get off the golf course and back to work.

I can see where he is coming from. About 20% of working age adults are economically inactive, there are half a million people who have left work because of long-term sickness since 2019.

More than three million people who have left the workforce are over 50 but younger than retirement age. With a need for more people in work there is a need to target older people.

Many people in their 50s and 60s do want to work, but a good number want to do it on their terms with a more flexible way of working.

The Government supports getting older people into work but organisations are taking a different view.

Research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) suggests firms are much less open to hiring older workers than they are to bringing in younger talent. They surveyed more than 1,000 managers working in UK businesses and public services. Employers are complaining of severe labour shortages, but admit they are hesitant to bring in older workers. The survey found that just 42% were open “to a large extent” to hiring people aged between 50 and 64.

It is organisations that need to change, to make people want to go and work for them.  They could offer more flexible working, returnships and reverse mentoring.

Recruiters could be making an excuse when they say that you are over experienced and too expensive. We can help by explaining all the benefits of our years of experience that they are getting, and we can say that salary is not our motivator, it is interesting work.

As I said on one of the radio interviews, a lot of older people will be saying – if you want me to work for you, you need to woo me.


I got a text message early Monday morning asking me if I could be on BBC Radio Wales to discuss this topic. I said yes, and you can listen to the recording below.

Clearly other media outlets were paying attention and I had a request to go on another show at 10.00. Alas I had to say no as I had a personal appointment.


Driving back, I got another text, this time from You and Yours, one of the BBC 4 flagship programmes. I had to be available from 12 till 1 the next day and as I’m only 3 miles from BBC Radio Gloucestershire I went into the studio so I could call in using an ISDN line. As it was a phone in show I wasn’t on as much as I’d anticipated but got some key points across.

The whole broadcast is worth listening to and available here

I speak at about 30 minutes and then about 8 minutes later, so if you just want my input here are the links:


I then did a pre-record for BBC Radio Gloucestershire which went out this afternoon



I have lots of advice in my book – Find work at 50+ ; here are just a few of the tips I’ve been sharing today

  • Be clear on the job you want. It helps you to focus your CV and makes it easier for a recruiter to see how you match up
  • Make sure there are likely to be jobs available. It’s a waste of time looking for jobs that aren’t available in your area
  • Check out your values – if money is no longer your driver you can have more freedom to choose something new.
  • Look out for employers that show that they are age positive. I have a list of organisations in the appendix of my book including Nationwide Building Society and McDonalds that welcome applications from older people
  • Target your CV and de-age it. Remove anything from more than 20 years ago and take off the dates of qualifications unless recent
  • If you are getting shortlisted then your CV has done its job
  • Believe in yourself. If you think you are too old you will probably be proved right
  • Show some energy and enthusiasm in how you move and talk
  • Make sure you are comfortable with competency-based interviewing. You need to be able to provide specific examples. Get interview coaching to gain confidence


It also helps to be clear on your reasons for a return to work

It could be because you

MUST – you need the money for essentials

NEED – to meet self-esteem/ self-worth needs, the money is a welcome extra, but work is part of your identity.

PERHAPS – you would work if it was the right opportunity and with flexibility but you won’t go back unless you get this.

And then there is what do you want to do. is it:

  • A new challenge, time for a change of career
  • Less stress so likely to go for a simpler and less well-paid job



Published On: January 31st, 2023 / Categories: Career Coaching, Job Search /

One Comment

  1. Heather Baker April 3, 2023 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you for this article.

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