From education to employment

Finding Your Mid Life Mojo

With the Spring budget shining a spotlight on the 3.5million people aged 50 plus who are economically inactive, Jane Knight examines why now is the time for women in their 50s to shine.

Back in 2014, as a 40-something mum who had a business idea to help one hundred women kickstart their careers, I didn’t envisage that just over eight years later, that very same business would have touched the lives of thousands of women.  When I look back, professionally, I have achieved more in the last decade than I did in the two before that. So why is it, all too often, middle-aged mums are overlooked?  

Since the pandemic, there has been a real surge of those aged 50+ classed as economically inactive. According to the ONS, 72% of adults aged 50 to 59 years would now consider a return to work having left during the pandemic.

Having recently turned 50, I am acutely aware of the barriers women of a similar age face when trying to find a job. Sadly, for many older women, caring responsibilities, concerns over their health and the challenges around menopause can make getting back into work difficult.

Confidence is a real issue; so many women question whether their skills and experience are enough and are often intimated by the prospect of using new or complex technology.

But as we see the cost-of-living crisis continuing, 61% of women aged 50 to 65 are considering going back to work for the money, and these women need support.

At Successful Mums we continue to support mums in their twenties and thirties, but more and more of our mums are coming to us in their forties and fifties. These middle-aged mums have heaps of life and work experience, buckets of empathy and huge amounts to offer employers. We have seen first-hand that success is not defined by your age.

In fact, I can see so much value in supporting the over 50s, that I have made it a personal mission to help 50 women over 50 who will benefit from the unique training programmes we offer, tailored to mums who are looking to find their mid-life mojo, and a job they love.

The body, mind and life change around the age of 50 and it can be a lot to process. For many it is a positive milestone, but for others, it can be a very challenging time. My goal is to help these women take stock of all their amazing accomplishments and realise the transferable skills that they have learnt both as a mum and in previous careers.

Recruitment procedures can often be a barrier to older women’s career progression, with many finding that they have become more complex and demanding over the years. We need to help them navigate the recruitment process with CV support, interview techniques and link them to flexible friendly employers.

But it isn’t just women that need support – we need employers to be forward-thinking and recognise the real value that over 50s can offer. If we are working until we are 70 then the average 50-year-old will have another two decades of career ahead of them. The life experience, and skillset these women can bring, can really add real value to an organisation.  But it is also crucial that employers are fully supportive and are clued up on women’s wellbeing.

We developed a specialist programme for employers, full of free women’s wellbeing and menopause training and resources to help them embrace flexible working and diversity by encouraging returning older mums into their workforce. By tackling it from the women returner point of view, as well as the employer perspective, we are confident we can get the recognition that mid-life mums need.

At Successful Mums we have worked hard to carve out a niche business model which works, and  feel very passionate about the transferable skills parents have that should enhance not halt their career.  After all, aging is a privilege, and turning 50 is just the start of the next chapter.

By Jane Knight, Founder, Successful Mums Career Academy.

About Successful Mums

Founded in 2014, Successful Mums Career Academy is an award-winning specialist training company for mums. The company has supported more than 7,000 parents to find flexible careers through free online training courses, coaching and qualifications. These include back-to-work and confidence courses, business start-up courses plus digital skills, coaching and mentoring, positive wellbeing, and autism awareness qualifications.  

Successful Mums brings together a network of like-minded women to support and plan their future flexible career. Women can lose direction and confidence after a career break, and Successful Mums is focused on breaking down the barriers that are preventing mums from returning to the workplace – confidence, career advice and childcare.  

Successful Mums also supports forward-thinking employers with free women’s wellbeing and menopause training and resources.

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