How to win a promotion in your late 50s

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New research conducted by Robert Walters reveals that three in four workers in their 50s believe they have hit a career ceiling with their current employers.

Request the research here.

Looking to continue your career trajectory once you reach your fifties? Alexandra Sydney, group marketing director at Totaljobs, offers the following tips to secure a promotion.


1. Make your ambition known 

Having career progression front of mind is brilliant, and something your employer should be willing to support.

Whether it is the opportunity to learn new skills, increase earning potential or shape your company’s direction with fresh ideas, the first step is making your employer aware of your ambition.

Not only will this show your commitment to the organisation, but it will also encourage them to think about ways they might be able to carve out new roles or add additional responsibility to make the most of your experience.

We would recommend discussing this at your next appraisal meeting, or sooner if you’re feeling dissatisfied.

2. Find out the pathways to progress

For those that want to progress into a more senior role, it’s important to talk to your employer about whether you have the required skills or if they feel that further training is needed.

A third of workers in their 50s have told us that they are not at all aware of what they need to do to secure a promotion, so it’s important to have a conversation to find out what you need to do and how you might be able to improve.

Just because you have more experience than some of your younger colleagues, don’t feel like they should be the only ones that benefit from training.

Whether it’s developing skills in project management, leadership, team building or decision making, don’t be afraid to ask your boss how you might be able to use company resources to support your progression.

3. Explore different ways of working

A traditional 9-5 work pattern isn’t always easy with commitments outside of work, but your responsibilities should not impede your career or earning potential.

With a skills shortage in the UK, employers are introducing more progressive ways of working to attract and retain the best talent and they’re waking up to shifting work patterns to meet different individual’s needs.

Don’t be afraid to ask your boss how you might be able to use company resources to support your progression.

Whether it’s working remotely or as part of a job share, having flexible hours or more project-focused work, there are plenty of ways to manage work-life commitments.

Talk to your employer about how you might be able to shift your current working style to deliver your best work.

4. Keep your options open

With over a decade left to progress and grow, it’s important to take the time to think about how happy you are at your current company and role.

While older generations are regarded for their loyalty compared to younger workers, if your employer isn’t giving you the progression opportunities you desire, think about what else might be out there.

While looking for new opportunities, remember that it’s never too late for a change from your usual beat. Our research showed that some sectors are more age-friendly than others – you should think about how your transferable skills might help you segue into different sectors.

Many employers look at more than just job titles, preferring to concentrate on a candidate’s relevant skills and experience, so be sure to identify which skills may be interchangeable across different industries.


Pre-order your copy of Driving Diversity in the Workplace research series here.

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