Never Too Late for a High-Flying Career; Jane Gallagher Reports on Plans to Increase the Retirement Age and the Key to Business Success

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), December 5, 2005 | Go to article overview

Never Too Late for a High-Flying Career; Jane Gallagher Reports on Plans to Increase the Retirement Age and the Key to Business Success


Byline: Jane Gallagher

HOW do you feel about working until you're 68? Tired at the thought of working until you drop or energised at the opportunity to have more time to enjoy your career?

Jan Kalitkin thinks it's a great idea and she can't wait until the new Age Discrimination Laws are introduced into the UK next year either.

For Jan, who left school with no qualifications and spent most of her 20s bringing up a family before catching up with her education, has just started a new career at the age of 50.

But only after completing a law degree at Liverpool University, and setting up a successful legal recruitment company first.

"I feel like I'm only just getting going," says Jan, who now works as a business advisor for Train 2000, the very organisation that helped her set up her own business seven years ago.

Now her working days (and many evenings) are spent advising up to eight women a week on the best way to drive their business ideas forward.

"A lot of my clients are in their 20s but many more are older.

some in their 60s and age just isn't an issue," she adds.

"A lot of women who have had time out to bring up their families or who are looking for a career change, are embracing the opportunity to work well into their 60s and beyond. It is a great opportunity for those of us who didn't get the chance to scale the career ladder when we were younger. Now the workplace is not just recognising the skills and expertise of older workers but embracing them too."

According to a recent survey, the majority of older people would prefer to keep working until after they reach retirement age with many over-55s set on working until they are in their 70s.

"Longevity is driving revolutionary change in the way that older people think about their later years and, for most, this new chapter in life includes periods of work," comments Steve Troop, of HSBC, who commissioned the research.

He adds that it is "crucial" that governments and companies across the world adapt their systems so that people will be able to continue working for as long as they want to.

A fixed retirement age is not an idea that appeals to many older people. Of those polled, only 16% supported the idea. Nearly half of over-55s support an increased retirement age, as they believe it could relieve the financial pressure caused by an ageing population.

Although she may be just 36 now, Dr Magitha Shyamsundar is grateful for the proposed extension of retirement age, as she believes it will give her the opportunity to catch up on the time she took out of the workplace to bring up her son, Karthik, who is nearly seven.

"It was my belief that, when I had a child, I would stay at home and look after him until he started school. It was how I was brought up and it was important to me and my husband, Shyam," says Magitha who is a geneticist at DNA Diagnostics.

"Until my son was born, my career was very important to me, I studied hard to gain my doctorate and giving up work wasn't a decision I took lightly. Now my son is settled at school I am happy to return to the job I love. The fact that I know I will be able to continue working as long as I want to and not have to retire at a set age is very liberating."

Sandra Carney didn't start working at Yaffe Fusion Art in Birkdale until she was 31.

Today she is marketing director after working her way up form a part-time job.

"I don't think anyone should be discriminated against for age, sex or the colour of their skin. If you can do the job, then do it," she insists"For women, there has never been a better time to forge ahead with new careers later in life.

They generally have more life experience, more patience, generally the children are a bit older & they have more time to put into their careers without all the stress that goes with coping with homes, husbands and little ones. …

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