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Being over 50 years old and succeeding in the workplace is possible

According to the guide “Promoting Diversity in the Workplace”, carried out by the consulting firm Robert Walters, 75% of professionals over 50 years of age believe they have reached the ceiling in their professional career. In fact, 72% of these professionals state that their current companies do not offer them promotion opportunities, while a significant 41% consider that in their workplace there are no professional development opportunities.

If you take into account that these workers still have more than 15 years of working life ahead, It is a problem of important dimensions. There is a risk of wasting the potential of this group of senior talent for more than a decade or even two, as their careers stall without putting their knowledge and experience gained throughout their careers to good use.

Average profile of professionals over 50 years of age

Ivan FigueirasSenior Manager of the Gas & Power Division at Robert Walters, shares his vision on the challenges faced by candidates and professionals over 50 years of age:

Those over 50 continue to encounter major obstacles when it comes to accessing the labor market. Despite the fact that these profiles have all the necessary attributes to stand out in a selection process, such as critical thinking, analytical capacity and adapting to change from new perspectivesmany times their experience is not rewarded with better job opportunities.

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In the labor market we are experiencing a bubble, in which a shortage of highly qualified labor is beginning to be observed in certain sectors. This makes it increasingly difficult to fill certain vacancies and, even worse, retain the most qualified professionals. This is the main reason why the most senior talent must invest in training and retraining to adapt to market demands and compete in the most attractive job offers”.

The other challenges of engineering profiles over 50 years old

Currently, from Europe and Spain there is an investment commitment in all sectors according to the recovery and transformation plan for the economy. There are major goals such as the decarbonisation of the economy, energy efficiency, digitization or sustainabilitywhich apply in the fields of industry, mobility and transportation.

We talk about technologies like green hydrogen, renewables, circular economy projects, new industrial processes, new more efficient and cleaner propulsion systems, new materials to be developed, R&D, etc. And this is where engineering professionals over the age of 50 can find more obstacles when entering an increasingly changing job market.

Given the great demand for qualified profiles and managers, from the Human Resources departments, companies must bet on the training, education and recycling of their employees. The learning curve for certain technologies is relatively short for qualified professionals, so a clear commitment to training must be made to adapt to new trends”, argues Iván Figueiras, Senior Manager of the Gas & Power Division at Robert Walters.

How to approach the job search?

The way of looking for a job changes radically, depending on the age segment.

job search portals they are not as effective for older profiles, since when the advanced filters are deployed, the criteria of years of experience does not usually exceed +15 years or +20 years. This means that both 40-year-old professionals and 60-year-old or older candidates can be included in this filter, which is a very large volume of the population, not to say that it is the largest workforce in Spain.

On the contrary, professionals over 50 years old have something that cannot be competed with: experience. There are many companies that especially appreciate the vision of these “gurus” to resolve crisis situations or to provide key information on business strategy. In addition, in certain specializations, experience translates into credibility, a differentiating factor for organizations. The capacity of solve non-everyday problemswhich junior profiles do not know very well how to deal with, is also something highly valued by companies.

On the other hand, the usual thing is that this type of professionals, having more years of experience, have a network of contacts superior to that of a junior profile. This highlights the importance of networking, which can be of great help when it comes to finding a new job.

Another option when looking for a job that should not be ruled out is entrepreneurship, something quite common in this segment of the population that is willing to create a project based on their expertise.

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