Last updated: 29.05.24

11 Essential Tips to Help Over 50s Back to Work


The job market in the UK is becoming increasingly competitive. For certain age groups, there are more barriers to getting back into the workforce than one may think.

In recent years, 3.5 million people aged 50 to 64 were out of work and not looking for work according to data, and these numbers have been rising. Of the older demographic of workers, from the ages of 50 and above, many feel that their age is a barrier to finding better employment, with nearly half (48%) of respondents in a survey that were over 55 stating this.

In fact, candidates within this age group have gone so far as to lie about their age to try and put them in better stead of getting hired - with 44% admitting to doing so on their CVs, reports reveal. Therefore, it’s proving difficult for this cohort to secure the employment they want, which is likely because of their age.

Employers aren’t making this transition any easier, with articles sharing that only four in 10 managers in UK businesses reported that they were open “to a large extent” to hiring people between 50 and 64 years of age. Not only this, but ageism still appears to be a problem within the job market: 34% of older workers claim that they had experienced ageism during an interview process.

When it comes to employment, age shouldn’t be a barrier; efforts need to be made by both older candidates and employers alike to ensure they’re in the best position to return to the workforce and to support those over 50 to return to work, respectively.

In this article, we aim to address both sides of the coin: offering tips for over 50s returning to work and advising employers and managers on how they can best support their older candidates in joining the workforce.

Tips for Candidates Over 50 To Get Back to Work

Mature workers bring a range of skills, life experience, and general wisdom to their roles that younger employees arguably don’t. And yet, it appears that older candidates are having to work a little harder to get back into the workforce.

As such, we’ve shared some of our top tips for over 50s returning to work to help increase your chances of securing the role you want. 

Build Your Confidence

When you’ve been rejected for a role, it’s easy for your confidence to be knocked, and this is one of the main challenges for over 50s getting back into work. You can build your confidence by reviewing your areas of knowledge and identifying where your strengths lie, which in turn increases your belief in yourself and your abilities.

Alternatively, you can learn a new subject altogether. By accomplishing something new that you’ve set your mind to, you’ll boost your confidence in your personal and professional abilities. A common benefit of education and training is that it improves self-confidence, so utilising resources or undertaking courses relating to your upcoming role places you in an ideal position to boost your confidence. 

Increased confidence in your suitability for any professional position means you are more likely to take the steps needed to succeed in an interview, land the role, and perform much better in any job you secure.

Broaden your Horizons

For over 50s getting back to work, the work you’re applying for might not relate to your previous professional experience. After all, it's not often that a person works in the same industry or role for most of their life.

But when it comes to returning to work, don’t assume this means returning to something you’ve done before! Why not try something new and consider different kinds of work? By being open-minded, you’re much more likely to find a job quicker than you would by focusing on a specific type of role.

Nail Self-Presentation

Rejection sows the seed of self-doubt, which means it can be hard for a person to then present or ‘sell’ themselves convincingly. On the other hand, you have candidates who are too confident - and come across as arrogant by overselling themselves.

For over-50s returning to work, and who may want to ensure that you’re nailing how you come across in your interview setting, there are online training courses available to learn how to present yourself positively. These will help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses while helping you learn how to communicate on paper and face-to-face, allowing you to portray yourself and your achievements professionally and confidently for the role you’re applying for as you get back into work.

Having the Right Qualifications

Unfortunately, in many roles, if you don’t have the required qualifications, you won’t get the job. This is why it’s essential when getting back to work for over 50s to have the right qualifications for the role. 

Nowadays, with a simple Google search, you can best understand what hard and soft skills are essential for a role, and narrow down exactly what you feel you need to develop to place you in the best position to secure it.

Online training courses are one of the best ways to help you gain essential qualifications or skills for a specific sector or role. Their convenience in being able to be accessed flexibly from anywhere, and offering a range of resources - from video tutorials to interactive quizzes and case studies - means you can gain your qualifications in a hands-on way from almost anywhere.

Gaining ‘Basic Skills’

In the past, many roles required little to no literacy or numeracy skills, as reading and writing were simply not required. However, as times change and competition remains fierce, these skills are essential to many positions - meaning those without them may struggle to find work.

These ‘skills for life’ include reading and writing, numeracy, IT, and basic computing. If you lack any of these skills, don’t worry, as this can easily be addressed with widely available - and sometimes free - courses.

For over 50s returning to work, you should target and develop these basic skills first to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements of any role that you may be applying for. 

Don’t Forget Your ‘Soft Skills’

When it comes to interviews and updating your CV, don’t forget to mention any soft skills you’ve acquired over the years. Often, if a candidate with all the right qualifications lacks soft skills - such as problem-solving, critical thinking, or teamwork-they won’t get the role. Let employers know you possess these attributes by providing them with examples of when you've had to demonstrate them, helping you get back into work sooner. 

Tips for Employers to Support Over 50s in Getting Back Into Work

There are ample benefits to employing people aged 50 and above, such as:

  • Improving the performance of your team with experienced and productive individuals
  • Older workers tend to be more stable in themselves and loyal to business in the long term, helping you to build long-lasting relationships and have a secure team contributing to your business’ success

As such, it’s equally important that employers and managers make the effort to support those over 50 to get back into work. We’ve delved into a few key ways that this can be done below.

Offer Flexibility

Flexible working has now become the norm for many organisations. Whilst it has become more common since 2020, it’s still a perk for companies to offer flexible working and is particularly beneficial for over 50s getting back into work.

It’s unlikely that you’ll meet older candidates’ needs if you’re not offering flexible working. So, to engage those over 50, consider adapting your workplace to be more desirable to this cohort and ensure that they can work to the best of their ability in your business.

Offering Learning and Development Opportunities

According to research, an overwhelming 83% of employees feel learning and development is a “vital factor” in determining whether or not they choose an employer. Regardless of age, employees are increasingly desiring to grow their knowledge and diversify their skills in an ever-competitive professional market.

As long as you continue to provide courses and resources that nurture the personal and professional growth of over 50s getting back into work, you place your company in a better position to attract these candidates and gain their loyalty.

Be Inclusive

When hiring any cohort of individuals - whether of different ethnicities, religions, sexualities or, in this case, ages - it’s important to understand the steps you’ll need to take to be more inclusive as a workplace. This way, you’re more likely to attract, retain, and continue to support these individuals whilst they’re working for your business.

Offer Good Pension Schemes

For employees in their 50s, there’s often more focus on ensuring that companies have good pension schemes and benefits, given that retirement age is closer for this cohort compared to younger employees. Especially as the state pension age continues to rise in the UK, this is becoming all the more important to older workers.

By offering favourable retirement and pension benefits to your employees, you’re more likely to attract and retain employees in their 50s, supporting them with their needs to continue to progress towards retirement as productively as they can.

Offering Support and Guidance

If you’re planning on getting over 50s back to work, you must offer good guidance and support, and make it clear during the interview process that this is something your company offers. For anyone returning to work from an alternative role or after a career break, it can be worrying. Thus, offering additional guidance and support to over 50s returning to work is important to let them know that their needs are met and that they are listened to. 

Mentorship schemes within your organisation can be a successful way to offer new employees age 50+ the opportunity to learn from another member of the team, alleviating stress and helping them to feel supported. Additionally, offering training sessions for new employees can really help them bed into the role and learn essential skills, nurturing them into confident and competent members of your team.


What is the Best Career to Start at 50?

Ultimately, if you’re thinking about what jobs for over 50s are best to break into as an older professional, there’s no right or wrong answer. Personal preference will play a role in what industries you may be trying to break into, and previous experience may undoubtedly be guiding you in narrowing down potential roles. 

As previously mentioned, don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons if you want to apply for a job that is totally different to your previous professional roles, but make sure you’re adequately prepared if doing this. 

Is 52 Too Old to Get a Job?

In our opinion, 52 is definitely not too old to get a job. Age should never be a barrier to gaining employment, and we’d encourage anyone who wants to get into work - no matter what age - to dive in head first with confidence, skills, and experience on their side to help them succeed.

Why Do I Feel Like I Don’t Want to Go to Work?

If you’re feeling that you don’t want to return to work, chances are you may be experiencing stress or burnout, or your previous negative experiences in recent employment could be holding you back from applying for new roles. If this is the case, it’s important to find the sources of these emotions and work on how you can resolve them to try and make yourself feel better - mentally and physically - and put yourself in a better place to begin applying for new roles. 


In our current professional world, efforts need to be made by both over 50s returning to work and employers who are hiring candidates, to help smooth the transition into a new role and meet the needs of candidates over 50. Whether you’re someone who is over 50 and getting back into work, or you’re an employer keen to learn how you can best support over 50s in returning to work, we hope this article has shared some essential insight with you.

Whether you’re an employer, manager, or employee, we have an expansive range of courses that help learners expand their knowledge and develop essential skills to reach personal and professional goals. You can browse our range of available courses here. From personal and professional development to leadership and management, we support your journey to success.