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What’s The Future For Public Sector Women Aged 40 Plus?

According to the Labour Force Survey Q4 2012, 40% of public sector workers are women aged 40 or older.

We are all aware that there have been significant cuts in public sector employment over the past 3 years with considerable more to come.

Having come from a public sector background, I have witnessed first hand and experienced the implications that these cuts have had on women of this age group.

Although the Labour Market Statistics for May 2013 report that unemployment rates for women aged 35 and over are low compared to everyone else, (5.5% for women aged 35-49 and 4% for women aged 50-64 compared to 7.8% of everyone of working age), once women of this age group lose their jobs, they tend to find it harder to get back into work.

For unemployed women over the age of 50, 45% have been unemployed for a year or longer. With projections that the public sector will shrink by 2020, what does the future hold for women of this age group working in this sector?

If the predictions come to pass, the future could be pretty grim. However, please note that I used the word 'could'. This means that it does not have to be this way.

Whilst the cuts to public sector employment are inevitable, the future for women in their mid-life career that are affected can be very hopeful if you take charge and take control of your situation now. I support women through mid-life career change, particularly those facing job loss or who want to do something more fulfilling.

The biggest factors affecting a lot of these women is a lack of confidence and fear.

The benefits they receive from coaching are tremendous as it helps them to banish their fears and helps them to gain the confidence to pursue the careers or set up the businesses that they really want to do.

Another factor affecting women of this age group is that many do not have the necessary skills in the sectors and occupations where growth is predicted.

It has been reported that there is a mis-match between skills that older women have and the sectors and organisations that are growing. In a recent survey that I conducted of women aged 40-60, only 16% said that they regularly developed their skills. The implications of this are that many women going through mid-life career change will not be equipped to compete in today's market. You can overcome this by continuously developing your skills, not only to keep yourself marketable should the need arise, but for your own personal growth.

It will also make adapting to change easier. There are a myriad of ways in which you can develop your skills, such as evening classes, online courses, attending training events that your organisation offers, online and offline groups and forums, reading books etc.

Do not get left behind and as one of my clients used to believe, 'thrown on the scrapheap'. With 66% of women now expected to retire past state pension retirement age, my advice to you is do not wait to become another grim statistic.

Take control of your future, take action now and make the latter part of your career one that is enjoyable and rewarding.


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