Thinking about your working life

Laptop, coffee and notepad

The job you are in now might not be the one you do for the rest of your working life. Equally the way in which you work may need to change. This might be through choice, but it might be that you have to change jobs as a result of ill health, caring responsibilities or to seek different working arrangements/job design that are more suitable for you.

This section includes key points to consider, actions to take forward and links to useful information and resources.

Key points
  • The profile of the NHS workforce is ageing, so employers have a vested interest in retaining the skills and expertise of staff as they age. Don’t underestimate your value and contribution.
  • The availability of flexible work has been shown to be vital for older workers.
  • Older staff often report barriers to their ongoing employment such as the lack of flexible working arrangements, the impact of shift work and the cumulative impact of physically and emotionally demanding work.
  • Additional caring responsibilities, for example for elderly parents or younger grandchildren, may have an impact on your capacity for work.
  • Employers have a responsibility to work with you to provide suitable working arrangements. This might include flexible working, ensuring that you have equitable access to training and development opportunities, and to ensure your health and safety at work.
  • Mid-life development reviews, where they are offered, can help you think about the skills you have and the way in which you might want to work as you approach retirement.  People who have had these have liked the fact they are facilitated by someone other than their manager, e.g. a union learning rep.  You can also use your appraisal or development review to have such conversations with your line manager. 
  • The 2015 NHS Pension Scheme has a number of flexibilities that can support different ways of working in later life.
Key actions
  • Think about where you see yourself later in your working life. It’s never too early to think about it.
  • Use your Total Reward Statement/Annual Benefit Statement to help you understand your own pension arrangements. When can you retire and how much pension will you get? What about your state pension? What flexible retirement options are available?
  • Check your employer’s flexible working policy. There may be more options than you realise.
  • Take advantage of mid-life development reviews where they are available. 
  • Discuss with your line manager any career aspirations and/or barriers to your ongoing employment you can foresee. This can be during your appraisal/development review but could be at another time of your choosing.
  • Ensure that you ask for and take advantage of learning and development opportunities.
  • Contact your local trade union representative if you feel you are being treated unfavourably because of your age.
For trade union representatives

The Working Longer Group recommends organisations offer mid-life development reviews, does yours?  If not, why not ask your employer to work with you to set them up. Further information can be found on Union Learn.  

Useful information and resources

Work and learning: information on Age UK

Working later in life: information on Independent Age

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