Active Voice: How to tap into the talent of women over 50

Women over 50 are one of the fastest growing economically active demographics. Fewer than a third are now defined as economically inactive. It’s a largely undervalued resource of skills, talent and expertise. Recent research by PwC estimated that should the UK increase its older worker employment rate to match that of Sweden, a potential £80 billion could be added to our economy.

So how can we tap into the potential of older women – both those already in the workplace, and those considering returning after a career break?

Dispel the myths: women report feeling stereotyped as ‘menopausal’ whether or not they’re experiencing any symptoms, so it becomes a taboo subject. Normalise mid-life transition: post advice articles on the office intranet, organise diversity training specifically around gender and age for instance.

Be open to dynamic working practices: flexible working or a returners programme can have a positive impact on brand image. It shows that your organisation is open to and accepting of non-linear career paths and values the role that caring plays in society. This can play a key role in both recruitment and retention of talented employees.

Embrace the changing demographic: The population is ageing. The peak age for caring duties in the UK now falls between the ages of 50 to 64 with increasing numbers of people, particularly women, acting as ‘sandwich carers’, providing support for their parents as well as their children. In a major government survey, carers highlighted flexible working, mentoring, coaching and relatable role models as the most important policies to support them.

Look beyond the c.v.: as a recruiter, focus on the skills and experience a returner can offer to an organisation. By encouraging women to return to work following a career break, businesses are able to tap into an under-utilised, skilled workforce.


For more advice on how to get the most from this demographic, contact us.