Contracting could be the way to go for the over 50s
Over the last few Contractor Attitude Surveys that we have carried out, we’ve noticed an increasing number of older limited company contractors. Something which we believe is partly driven by people enjoying being a contractor and wanting to carry on working longer, and also by people who have taken early retirement from a permanent position and then chosen to go contracting. In fact, over 30% of the UK’s working population is now over 50 – which is some 9.4 million of us, in real terms.
If you’re a mature contractor, then you may find a recent report by workplace consultants Peldon Rose quite interesting. The idea behind the survey was to determine how older people are being treated at work, when compared to their younger counterparts – and the results were certainly an eye opener for employers, showing that their older permanent employees are the ‘least content’ of the entire workforce.
Only 23% – less than a quarter – of over 55s surveyed said that they felt appreciated by their employer, and just 17% believed that their employer valued their opinion on workplace matters. The rest clearly do not feel that their voice is being heard – and worryingly 80% of those surveyed had experienced work-related stress at some stage.
This plainly demonstrates that more mature workers are less appreciated by their employers, and makes a good case for those who are over 50 to consider contracting. As a contractor, you are valued for your experience and knowledge, built up over many years – rather than being seen as over the hill and no longer taken seriously. Having that ‘independent third party specialist’ persona can make a huge difference in the workplace.
The findings of the report in relation to under 25s were a stark contrast, with over half (55%) saying they felt valued by their employer. So, it’s clear that employers need to start appreciating those staff members with greater knowledge and life experience a little more. Indeed, the company that commissioned the survey, Peldon Rose, described it as businesses creating a ‘forgotten generation’ of more mature employees who, despite this greater level of experience and knowledge, are not finding themselves being taken seriously at work.
Commenting on the findings of the survey, Chief Executive of Peldon Rose Jitesh Patel said, “With millions of workers remaining in employment into their 60s and 70s, employers face the unexpected challenge of accommodating diverse generations of employees under one roof. As businesses aim to balance the needs and desires of both older workers and younger workers within the modern workplace, our survey findings have demonstrated that it is often the older workers who are being over-looked and under-valued by employers, leading to poor wellbeing and motivation.
Businesses should seek to understand the needs of the whole workforce. Failure to do so could result in higher attrition of the older workers who have been the backbone of their business and have valuable knowledge and experience which could be imparted on to the younger generations.”
Of course, we’re all for a world in which more mature workers are appreciated wherever they are. But if you feel that you are not being valued by your employer, then now could be a very good time to think about contracting – where your many years of accumulated skill and knowledge will be thoroughly appreciated.