The Situation facing older working-age people has gotten worse since the arrival of COVID 19 and looks to be getting worse very soon. For those 330,000+ over the 50s who were registered as unemployed in March, there have been at least another 130,000 added to the books. As everyone in this situation knows the amount of financial support is very low and hard to live on. It has been a long and hard process for people to be able to claim their benefits and make sure they are being paid the correct amount. As the DWP already had limited staff numbers and most all are working from home, the response times have often been very slow.
These problems are likely to get worse as there are likely to be over a million people who will no longer be eligible for support through the furlough scheme and most do not look as though their employers will re-hire them. In addition, the support for self-employed workers (of whom many are over 50) is also drawing to a close. Older workers over 50 have been (along with younger under 25-year-olds) been at the forefront of these layoffs, particularly those working in lower-skilled and less secure jobs.
It is also a reality that the older people are the less likely it is that you will be able to get another job soon. But there is some hope and our experience over the last 20 years has been that it is possible for older people to use their skills, experiences, work ethic and team spirit to find work on top of all this for those of you desperate to find work and get support there are few jobs offered and little practical support available.
Therefore we at Wise Age despite working from home want to offer some useful support and advice about what you can do to find a job from home.
1) There are still jobs out there. Supermarkets are still looking for staff, so go onto all the supermarket’s websites, look for their jobs section, see what’s on offer and send in your CV or fill in their online application. Equally, there are vacancies for NHS support staff, care home workers, security, driving and delivery jobs. These are likely to be at present temporary but once in work it is far easier to then get fully hired and employers prefer people who are currently or recently working. Only apply if you are fit and well and remember to keep your social distance, only go out for shopping, medical needs or ½ hour exercise or for a job interview (it is likely that the first interview will be by phone or online).
3) Prepare and practice for phone or online interviews and if you are given time please make sure you read the job description and person specification so you can prepare your answers with relevant references to past experiences.
4) When making applications or submitting CVs match your profile to the keywords in the job advert, make sure in your previous work you refer to as many of the key tasks that they want you to perform now as part of your summary of skills in your past jobs. Do not apply for jobs unless you match all or nearly all of their key Essential Requirements. Make sure that you refer with examples to these personal attributes that they say they want candidates to have – such as good customer skills, attention to detail, ability to work in a team and to work on your own.
5) These are the benefits you have to offer to employers as an older worker: experience, wisdom, work ethic, customer care, ability to get on with staff, customers and management, and matching the profile of the largest and rising group of customers for any business- the over 50s or silver economy.
6) These are the prejudices you are likely to face from ageist employers and recruitment agencies. Be aware of them and have your answers ready. Unmotivated, just waiting to retire; no understanding of IT, overqualified, a threat to younger managers, ill-health.
7) There are far more benefits you can offer and ways to counter myths that we can send you on request.
8) See the good practice templates and advice we offer in our ‘Over 50s’ Section, in particular, we are now putting online the first of our Training Presentations.
Advice for Self Employed from HMRC