Supporting the employability of adults aged 50+ in the post Covid-19 era

Emma Bolger*, Valerie Egdell (Contributor), Louise Ritchie (Contributor)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationpeer-review

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Older adults, aged 50+, are one of the groups bearing the brunt of the labour market crisis precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. They have lost their jobs, been furloughed and have experienced pay/hours reductions and increased job insecurity. Some even have altered their retirement plans (Crawford & Karjalainen, 2020). For those who lost their jobs, their future employment and health and wellbeing will be compromised not only in the short/medium-term, but also the long-term (Gallo et al., 2006; Gangl, 2006). Many older adults have returned to study, looking to gain new knowledge and skills to support their employability. Programmes of support and information for people in their 50s and 60s have been proposed, piloted (NIACE) (2013-15) and tested (Beach & Holden, 2020; Eurofound, 2016; Loretto et al., 2017; Watts et al., 2015). They cover key aspects of work including health, skill levels, work–life balance, personal finances, pension entitlement and knowledge management (Eurofound, 2016). These interventions are often costly and inconsistent in-person initiatives to support older adults with contemporary jobseeking and applications (Sigler 2020) and there is a need for age-specific, contemporary employability-focused activity. Focusing only on the predominantly younger HE student population could overlook the needs of age diverse student groups who should not be overlooked in the creation of support programmes. A narrow definition of employability focusing on employment might exclude those older adults who might wish to return to university study, and the new reasons for this in post-pandemic society. In our workshop, a holisitic career guidance approach will be taken which encompasses all life roles, offering practical proposals for employability support interventions for older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022
EventThe Open University Employability Conference 2022: Expanding the Narrative for a Rapidly Changing World - Continuing the Conversation - Online, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Mar 2022 → …


ConferenceThe Open University Employability Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period22/03/22 → …
Internet address


  • career
  • employability
  • higher education
  • age
  • employment


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