With the Spring Budget due in just a few days’ time, rumours and predictions are circulating widely about what Chancellor Jeremy Hunt might include. One area attracting considerable interest is that of workers aged 50+.
Many older workers retired early during the pandemic, but there could be significant economic benefits from them returning to the labour force. Some have already done so, as part of the ‘great unretirement’.
A record 48,000 people moved out of economic inactivity and into employment during Q4 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS data show a surge in people aged 50-64 returning to the workforce, in addition to those aged 16-24. More than nine million workers aged 50+ are now on payrolls, according to government figures announced in November 2022 – an increase of over 210,000 compared to the previous year.
It is clearly a priority area of focus for the government, with a £22 million funding boost allocated to support older workers, alongside the appointment of dozens of ‘50 PLUS Champions’ tasked with changing employer attitudes about hiring workers aged 50 and above. This certainly hints that the topic of older workers will be addressed during the Spring Budget.
UK sales transformation specialist The True Sales Company is championing the potential of sales careers for older workers returning to the workforce. Led by 54-year-old MD Paul Owen, the company is extolling the value that ‘silver salespeople’ can bring to the workplace, both for themselves and for employers.
Paul Owen, MD of The True Sales Company, said: “Older workers can make fantastic salespeople.
“Most have spent their careers building up sector-specific knowledge and experience that provides a strong foundation for a sales role, as they can sell products that they truly believe in. Older workers have also spent decades honing their workplace communication and empathy skills, which positions them perfectly for a new career in sales.
“From an employer’s perspective, silver salespeople also bring a sense of reliability and responsibility to the workforce. With mortgages to pay, families to look after and pensions to top up, most won’t be out every night partying – they’ll be turning up for work and giving their best. Life in sales begins at 50!”
ONS research shows that people aged 50-65 who are considering a return to the workforce, after leaving employment since the start of the pandemic, have a range of motivations. 61% reported being unlikely to afford an unexpected but necessary expense, while 57% reported not owning their house outright. Money was a major motivator, with the cost-of-living crisis adding to the financial pressures that those aged 50+ have been facing.
Returning to the workforce doesn’t necessarily mean returning to fulltime employment. Some older workers want the flexibility of working part-time, which can be a cost-effective solution for employers looking to grow their sales teams, according to The True Sales Company.
“Sales is about the results you get, not the hours you work”, Paul said. “As so many older workers already have decades’ worth of useful knowledge, once they have the competence and confidence to sell, they can do so in a range of formats, from four-day work weeks to hybrid and flexible working arrangements. It’s an arrangement that can deliver benefits for employees and employers alike.”
There are plenty of misconceptions about older workers due to ageism in the workplace. Interestingly, there are parallels with the misconceptions about sales. Sales is about supporting people to buy well, not convincing them to fork out for goods and services they don’t need, according to The True Sales Company.
Meanwhile, older salespeople can be more effective than younger salespeople, according to research shared by best-selling author Dave Kurlan. Kurlan’s figures show that older salespeople are likely to be an average of 105% more strong and effective than younger salespeople.
Paul added: “There are many, many benefits to hiring older salespeople and to taking on those with industry-specific knowledge and then training them in sales. People buy from people they like. As such, knowledgeable, empathetic older salespeople can be a huge asset.”
The True Sales Company is available to train and coach older people looking to get into sales and to work with employers to ensure their older salespeople can sell with confidence, as part of its Silver Salespeople campaign.