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Could a midlife MOT keep the over 50s in work for longer?

The over 50s have been leaving the workforce in droves since the pandemic.

New research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies found the number of economically inactive (neither working nor looking for work) people in their 50s and 60s has grown by nearly 250,000 since late 2019.

With many companies facing a skills shortage and struggling to recruit, losing talented over 50s is something they are keen to avoid.

The older generation of the workforce:

The Great Retirement - why older people are leaving the workforce in droves

The Great Retirement - why older people are leaving the workforce in droves, part two

Lifestyle choice driving unemployment in older workers

Fulfilling older workers’ teaching ambitions could boost retention

The changing demographics of the workforce make this even more critical as one in three employees will be over 50 by 2025 and the over 50s could have another twenty years of working ahead of them.

But to retain older talent, businesses will need to adjust. They need to recognise that at some point in life – people will want to stop, re-evaluate, and think about taking time out to pursue other interests or explore other avenues.

One thing is clear, what we call ‘cliff-edge’ retirement will be a thing of the past. This opens the opportunity for us all to enjoy fuller, richer lives, but it also throws up challenges.

How will people negotiate changes with their employer or go about job hunting or retraining? How will they finance the years ahead if they are going to work less or in less well-paid roles?

One solution to ensure these things are well planned is the midlife review, sometimes referred to as a midlife MOT, which offers the employer and employee the opportunity to pause, reflect and have an honest conversation about the future.

The concept has gained significant traction in recent years – not least because the government is keen on the benefits that longer working lives bring to the national economy: reduced dependency on state benefits and increased tax revenues and gross domestic product.

So, what does a midlife MOT look like and what are the benefits?

Midlife Reviews as their name would suggest are for mid-career staff in their late 40s and early 50s. They focus on someone’s medium to long term plans and consider their situation holistically.

It’s the starting point for deeper reflection on finances, work aspirations and overall wellbeing. It can explore everything from different working patterns that might suit them as get older, to new career paths, training or upskilling and the employee benefits they might need.  

It’s an opportunity to discuss retirement aspirations too and ensure they are on the pathway to achieving their financial goals and if not, to adjust. Having these conversions mid-career gives people time to think about their financial future and make changes to improve their situation in retirement.

Midlife Reviews can mean that the last ten or twenty years of a person’s working life is their most productive and rewarding as it brings together their accumulated experience, expertise, and knowledge the benefit of their employer.

A thriving, modern business is one where people of all ages fulfil their potential. This doesn’t have to stop at 50 and having a midlife MOT could provide the inspiration and support to keep people in work, motivated and productivity and ensure that companies don’t lose their valuable talent.


Steve Butler is CEO at Punter Southall Aspire