Friday, 20 February 2009

A sign of hope?

Sent by one of the 50+ generation as a sign of hope. Click and see it through.

Friday, 13 February 2009

'The future is not what it used to be ......'

It is reported that Sony played this at their executive meeting this year.
It is amazing...!

Check it out!

As Sir Terry Wogan used to say 'I'll just go lay down in a darkened room!'

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Latest data on over 50's and the recession from the US

Statistically, the over 55 workforce unemployment is running at a lower rate than other age groups. however, according to the latest AARP report they are likely to stay unemployed longer or just drop out of the workforce altogether.

"Long-term unemployment tends to be a greater problem for older job seekers than their younger counterparts," says a report from the AARP Public Policy Institute.

According to December 2008 labour statistics cited by the report, 32 percent of job seekers aged 55 and over remained unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Compare that to 23 percent of those ages 25 to 54, and 18 percent of those under age 25.

But there's a concern that once unemployed, the Baby Boomers are just dropping out of the workforce for good.

"Many older workers who lose their jobs drop out of the labour force rather than continue what can be a long and fruitless job search. Some of them say that they would like to be working, even though they are not looking for a job," said the AARP report.

We are still awaiting the latest analysis from our unemployment figures.

Reinvention; will the ‘real’ you stand up please?

What do the following have in common? Margaret Thatcher, David Bowie, Frank Sinatra, Hove seafront, Mickey Mouse, Glasgow and the Fiat 500? A Google search points out that they have all been ‘reinvented’. They all changed aspects of themselves to ensure they were still ‘with it’ beyond their ‘sell by’ date.
For today’s 50+’s reinvention is a key part of a long and happy life. From being a spoon-fed babe-in-arms we become a very mobile toddler. We go to school and maybe further or higher education, we start a job, change jobs, get promotion, take on new responsibilities. We outgrow our job, ‘need a change’ and retrain. At some time we may lose our job, have some time unemployed and at some point after a long a varied life we may retire. Alongside our career track our personal life will also involve many changes. We are single then commit to someone. We are ‘child free’ and then become a parent. We may separate or divorce, then find a new partner and some day may be widowed. We may move abroad and live and work in different countries. We may win or be left a fortune or have one and lose it. We may be involved in a serious accident or develop an illness that leaves us with a life-changing handicap. We may take on new learning or achieve a qualification that gives us new openings. New technology may change the world in which we work and means we have to up-skill or move on. In short, there will be times in our lives when we have to re-shape the way we think and see ourselves. We become a new version of ourselves.

What are the signs that it is time to ‘move on’ to our next phase? Here’s how some people have recognised the call for a new direction:
· ‘I had outgrown my job, I could do it in my sleep, the buzz had gone’.
· ‘I had hit the ceiling, gone as far as I could, I was waiting for people above me to move on or die and they didn’t seem ready to do either’.
· ‘I had had enough of where I was, I was treading water or even going backwards, I needed something new, a new challenge, some new skills’.
· ‘Getting that qualification opened doors that I had thought would always be closed to me. A whole new world came into view’
· ‘Surviving the heart attack was the wake up call. I could not go on as I had been.’
· ‘Losing my right arm was a signal that life had to be different. I had to rethink my future’
· ‘Losing my partner was a great blow, after that I had to rethink everything’
· ‘I was a dinosaur in a young person’s world’
· ‘Winning the prize money meant I could move on from having to scrimp and save. I could do good things for myself and my family and make our lives different and better’
· ‘ The relationship wasn’t going anywhere. It was beyond repair and I didn’t want the rest of my life to be like that.’

There are rhythms in life. If we sense that more of ‘the same’ is not going to get us what we want then maybe it is time to reinvent ourselves and reshape our future.

What we need is:
· An idea of what and how we want to be different. What actually (more income, adventure, learning, new challenges, new relationships etc.) are we looking for that would be better than what we have now? How could we achieve that? What will be the challenges? Is it worth the risk?
· A clear picture of what we have ‘going for us’. What are our strengths, experience and skills that will help us in our next stage? What resources do we have, what support and how will we get that? What else may we need to learn to achieve the change we want?
· To realise that change can be tough – how have we managed change before, what have we learned from that? How will we manage the change we want? What are the stages we will go through? What can we do or not do to help ourselves?
· A good ‘action plan’ – what are the action steps we will need to take? What is our ‘plan B’ if our first plan doesn’t work out?

Overall, we need to see change as part of living. We need the courage to act. Alongside that we need to be clear that our ‘reinvention’ will affect others and we need to show understanding for them as they come to terms with the ‘new us.’

‘The Rainbow Years; the pluses of being 50+’ is a ‘toolbox for reinvention’ and is available on this blog.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Over 60's pack the ski slopes

Baby boomers, part of the generation that first propelled skiing to mainstream popularity in the United States, are staying on the slopes for far longer, and in greater numbers, than anyone imagined possible a decade ago.

According to an annual study conducted by the National Ski Areas Association, the percentage of people ages 55 to 64 on the slopes has more than doubled to 9.2 percent since the 1997-'98 ski season. And the number of skiers 65 and older has been inching up every year as well.

"Back in the 1980s and even the 1990s, people got to be 50, 60 years old and they just figured they were old and they stopped," said Troy Hawks, spokesman for the National Ski Areas Association. Now, there are so many 70-plus skiers that many ski resorts have stopped offering lift ticket discounts for that age group.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Women 55+ are driving Facebook's success

Women age 55 and over are the fastest-growing U.S. demographic group on Facebook in the last three months, according to new data reported by Inside Facebook Monday. The number of women on Facebook is growing faster than men in almost every age group, and women now make up 56.2% of users.

Women over 55 have nearly tripled on Facebook since September to more than 717,000, and are nearly double the number of men in the same age group. The Facebook audience overall is getting older as its audience grows well beyond the base of college students it started with.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Encouraging labour market activity among 60-64 year olds

This not very sexy sounding report from the Dept. of Work and Pensions presents the findings of a qualitative research study which explored how to best encourage the 60-64 age group to take up or remain in work.

Key findings

  • Flexible working, particularly part-time and short-term contracts, was favoured among those research participants who wanted to work longer.
  • Those who did not wish to work on typically felt that they had worked for long enough. There were strong gender differences, with women much more likely to mention social reasons for continuing to work, whereas the men were more inclined to feel that they had already ‘done their bit’.
  • Health, caring and financial circumstances interacted to affect decisions about whether or not to continue working. Among those who defined their current health as ‘good’ or ‘reasonable’, concern about a change in their health status coloured the way they thought about working on, with many wanting to enjoy their retirement ‘while their health lasts’. Dual caring responsibilities (for partner or parent as well as grandchildren) emerged as a major issue for a number of research participants.
  • Many respondents were reacting to events as they unfolded and often with incomplete knowledge about benefits and pensions, their likely retirement income and of the prevailing policy situation, such as changes to the State Pension (for example, equalisation or State Pension deferral). These circumstances meant that respondents found it difficult to make clear plans. This lack of knowledge coupled with a general climate of distrust about pensions and government policy, acted as a significant barrier to respondents’ willingness to engage with the Extending Working Life initiatives.
  • Real or perceived factors, such as benefits traps or tax on pensions acted as a disincentive for respondents to get back to work. Some respondents had used the services of Jobcentres at some stage in their working lives. While some of these respondents reported positive experiences of the service they had received, the majority had negative experiences and generally older respondents did not think they would use Jobcentre Plus to help them back into work.
  • Most respondents had heard about the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations, but many had erroneous assumptions about the implications for retirement age. As well as those who stated explicitly that they thought retirement was now completely open-ended, many of the more negative viewpoints (forcing people to work longer; blocking jobs for younger people) also implicitly reflected the notion that there was now no retirement age.

Dispatches programme on February 9th Channel 4

Do have a look at this programme " Too old to work" made with assistance from TAEN.

Dispatches reveals the ageism still rife amongst employers and recruitment agencies.

The investigation reveals that being 'older' - even just over 45-years-old - is a risk in the workplace. Older workers are more likely to lose their jobs and fail to secure another position. Dispatches looks at the challenges facing older job seekers and how the mandatory retirement age, introduced in 2006, has forced tens of thousands out of their positions, against their will. The film also features the results of two exclusive You Gov surveys on attitudes towards older workers and the effects forced retirement can have on those still wanting to work

With the economic downturn, recruitment agencies are currently being flooded with applicants, but Dispatches questions whether the job market is a level playing field for job seekers of all ages. A former recruitment agency insider reveals the ageist practices within the industry and three professionals aged over 50 describe the ageism they have faced from recruitment agencies - from having their CV's 'lost in the system' to being talked out of applying for posts or being asked coded questions that relate to how 'dynamic' and 'energetic' they are.

To test whether recruitment agencies do discriminate against older candidates, Dispatches carries out an experiment - pitching two accountants, a 57-year-old father and his 25-year-old daughter, in a contest to see who can achieve the most offers of work via agencies. Martin Penny has 30 years of accounting experience whilst his daughter Tanne is still a trainee. They register with the same agencies and keep video diaries of their progress, recording their very different levels of success.

But whilst over-55s struggle to secure work, the programme reveals that job prospects are even direr for over 65s - many of whom have seen the value or their pensions and savings shrivel.

Dispatches meets people forced to retire, who break down into tears as they describe the damaging financial and psychological repercussions of being out of work. Their experiences echo the results of the specially-commissioned You Gov survey into the impact of forced retirement.

The programme reveals that the commonly-held prejudices against older people may be entirely misplaced because many have as active, if not more active brains than their younger counterparts. The film follows scientific testing of mental capacities of different age groups at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge. Using neural imaging, Professor Lorraine Tyler measures the brain activity of people aged 18 to 90. Her research contradicts the idea that older brains cannot function as well as younger ones - she explains how they adapt so well that they may even become stronger.

Dispatches also demonstrates, through physical fitness tests, that age is not necessarily an indicator of fitness or productivity. One energetic example is Celia Powis, a fitness instructor who was sacked when the council, her employer, discovered she was 70 - public support has seen her reinstated for a further year.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Starting your own business?

We have already reported on the fact that more people over 50 are starting businesses and are successful compared with younger age groups so you might be interested to know that Business Link has created an on-line guide for over 50s thinking of starting their own business. Look at this and you will be able to check out as to whether or not self employment is right for you.