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Furlough: Over 50s face job 'scrapheap' as scheme nears end – act to secure finances

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Furlough has provided important support to people who may have otherwise lost their jobs, and the scheme has been extended by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. However, as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift and the UK adjusts to a new normal, workforce patterns and expectations are changing which could leave some out of work. A section of society which is likely to be particularly impacted is older people, with job opportunities narrowing, and difficult decisions needing to be made in terms of finances. 

Express.co.uk spoke to Paul Naha-Biswas, CEO and Founder of Sixley, a recruitment platform, who provided further insight into the matter.

Mr Naha-Biswas highlighted the unfortunate reality of the challenges of the job market at present, and examined the actions older workers can take to rescue their finances.

He said: “While significant attention has been paid to the impact of the pandemic on the job opportunities of young people, older workers are also disproportionately likely to have been furloughed, made redundant or even forced into early retirement. 

“Data from the ONS last month showed unemployment among 50 to 64 year olds rose to 4.1 percent from October to December last year – the highest level since 2014 following a 50 percent rise during the second lockdown.

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Some may have to look further afield for a new job in a sector where they do not necessarily have much experience.

In this sense, Mr Naha-Biswas said, highlighting any commonalities with the job description to demonstrate a person has the skills required for the role.

A process known as upskilling, or indeed re-skilling, could serve to assist older workers in future employment endeavours.

Mr Naha-Biswa continued: “To future proof their prospects, older workers could look to use any time in between jobs to improve their digital skills so they are equipped with the exact skills hiring managers are desperate for.

“Or they could look to learn new or enhance existing skills which can be channels towards sectors experiencing jobs growth.”

However, this is not simply down to individuals alone, and in addition, Mr Naha-Biswas said the Government also has a responsibility to equip people with the digital skills they need. 

Keeping one’s CV and LinkedIn page up to date can help showcase skills and experience, but tailoring a CV to each opportunity can also help people to show they will be able to seamlessly fit into an organisation.

Depending on one’s circumstances, another potential opportunity to help amid a jobs drought is setting up as a self-employed consultant.

This could help to open the door up to short-term non-permanent work which could plug financial gaps, but could also look impressive to hiring managers in the future.

Finally, Mr Naha-Biswas recommended having the correct mindset was perhaps the most important consideration of all.

He added: “Stay positive and upbeat. You might apply for tens or even hundreds of jobs, but all you need is one business to hire you.

“Although each rejection can feel like a knockdown, you mustn’t lose sight of the fact your skills and aptitude will be vastly appreciated and desired somewhere.”

The job market is now more competitive than ever before, and it is likely confidence may have suffered due to spells of unemployment or furlough.

However, considering societal changes and adapting oneself to these challenges could assist greatly in securing employment. 

Mr Naha-Biswas concluded: “Evidence from previous recessions suggests older workers will struggle the most to find a new job.

“Re-employment rates are far lower for the over 50s than for any other group pre-Covid.

“Given the ever-increasing retirement age, this has worrying implications for long-term unemployment and the financial burden that this brings.

“So, it is important to consider how older jobseekers find employment and save themselves form the post-pandemic labour market scrapheap.”

Martin Lewis is the Founder and Chair of MoneySavingExpert.com. To join the 13 million people who get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/latesttip



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