Jobs for life become a thing of the past

A new report launched last week highlights the significant challenges faced by many middle and older aged people in a changing economy, and the need for policymakers and employers to prioritise and promote reskilling throughout workers’ entire careers.

The Economic Benefits of Reskilling, commissioned by AAT, argues that reskilling and lifelong learning has never been so important:

People are working for longer and are more likely to change careers than ever before. The days of having “a job for life” are a thing of the past. Currently, a huge proportion of older workers do not undertake training, despite the rapid pace of technological and economic change, resulting in greater inequality and social immobility.

Supporting the reskilling of older workers would result in projected savings of £105.2m with reduction of Job Seeker’s Allowance claimants over the next five years.

Crucially, long term unemployment is a significant problem for older people, with somebody aged 55-64, 12% more likely to be unemployed for over 12 months compared to a person aged 25-54. There is a stigma attached to retraining in older age, with one in three over 55s citing age-related reasons for not undertaking another qualification.

The report calls for this matter to be treated as a priority by policymakers and employers, with clear benefits to both the economy and society if older people have fulfilled working lives.

AAT has a track record of supporting adults who wish to upgrade and renew their skills.

Linda Fleet, an AAT full member who reskilled in her 50s and now runs her own practice, said:

“I think the older generation has a lot to offer in terms of skills and experience and AAT’s accounting qualification definitely gave me the confidence to go it alone.

I had been working in Asda for 13 years as a checkout supervisor and a customer service assistant but when I turned the big 50, I decided to use this milestone as an inspiration to pursue a new career path.

I had never worked in finance before, so starting a new qualification in accounting was a daunting yet exciting experience.

At first I studied full time but when I did six weeks work experience during the course, the accountancy practice asked me to stay on permanently. As a result of that placement, I didn’t even have to look for a new job once I had completed AAT’s accounting qualification!

After 10 years of working at the practice I decided to branch out alone and I started my own practice in management accounting.

I think the older generation has a lot to offer in terms of skills and experience and the AAT qualification definitely gave me the confidence to go it alone.”
Photo: Linda Fleet, AAT Licensed Accountant, with one of her clients. 

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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