When we think of choosing a career path our minds more often than not go to eager young school leavers, embarking on their journey into the world of work for the first time. But what about our growing population of older workers – those who already have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share? Could now be the time to be considering a career in care?
People in the UK are retiring later than ever, and more are changing career paths later in life than ever before.
So, why is a career in care so popular with older workers?
Older members of the workforce – particularly those entering retirement – often want to give something back to the local community, especially if it’s a role that offers a lot of social interaction.
Working in the care industry provides just that; a career that keeps you active, gives you the opportunity to meet new people, and brings a lot of job satisfaction.
The industry is always keen to bring young people into caring roles, of course – they’re bright-eyed, enthusiastic, eager to learn and full of energy. But research (both academic and workplace-based) shows that older workers also have a lot to bring to the table.
Maturity And Life Experience
There’s no denying that one of the huge plus-points of getting older is the amount of life experience it gives us.
Older workers have more than likely already filled a caring role in their lives – taking care of elderly parents perhaps, or raising their children – whereas younger people may not have yet. It’s these relationships that teach us the valuable skills of empathy and patience – an absolute must for working with some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Can Require Less Supervision
While not a hard and fast rule, older workers do tend to need less support in the workplace than someone younger.
The confidence in relating to others from all walks of life, that can only come with age, is a big asset for working in the care industry. It’s likely that someone older will come up against situations that they may have already dealt with in another capacity – either from caring for others throughout their lives, or from previous work experience.
Being able to ‘roll with the punches’ as it were, and to be confident in relating to other people is incredibly helpful if you’re choosing a career in care, as it is a caring role – and is generally a skill associated with someone who is older.
Older people are more likely to be financially secure and to have less financial burdens than a younger worker.
Caring is a calling, one that is born from a true passion for other people and their welfare. This desire can be shared by people of all ages; but for those who are younger and who are raising young children, or are paying a high rent or mortgage, the financial pressure that can bring often leads them to move to jobs that perhaps provide better pay.
It’s much more common for older people to no longer have a mortgage or be financially responsible for supporting their children – who are more than likely grown – and so money is less likely to be a factor for them when going into a new line of work.
Greater Job Satisfaction
Mature workers tend to place a higher value on the rewards of being a carer than a younger worker.
This is not to say that younger care workers don’t find the job rewarding! But research shows that it often doesn’t factor as high in their list of reasons that they love their career in care!
An older worker, who has perhaps spent many years working a job they didn’t enjoy, or that they found soulless and in which they felt undervalued, is more likely to prioritise job satisfaction when they choose a new career path. And you don’t get more satisfying than making someone’s life a little bit brighter every day!
If you’re interested in a rewarding career in care – whatever your age! – why not get in touch with our team at Care In Kent and find out more!