Changing Career After 50? Why Not!

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Many older workers don’t feel totally in sync with their professional situation, which might be part of a larger midlife transition. One way of tackling this is to change career, but age is one of the factors which holds people back the most when they’re wanting to find a new job.  

But there’s no age limit when it comes to changing career! Experience is vital on the job market; in fact, it’s one of the most sought-after attributes.  

If you’re over 50 and questioning whether to stay in your current job or not, this article is for you. Here’s our six-point analysis addressing the reality of the Belgian job market and professional reorientation.

turning-50-en1. Retraining after 50 IS possible!

Think your age means you can’t retrain and change career? Think again!  

Most companies actually place greater trust in older employees due to their higher level of experience and the real expertise they display in their job. Many companies offer opportunities to over 50s because of their rich and proven knowledge base.

The statistics are encouraging: since 2010, the employment rate for 55 – 64-year-olds has increased by 10 points, showing that older employees are far from being sidelined on the job market.

2. Belgian SMEs value older workers!

When it comes to retraining, have you considered small and medium enterprises? 62% of SMEs state that they are willing to hire older employees!

In their view, seniority equates not only to ‘experience’, but also to ‘greater loyalty’. They generally offer strategic positions to workers over 40.  

What’s more, SMEs view attitude and motivation as the most important criteria during the recruitment process, far ahead of age.

3. Self-employment opportunities

Have you thought about self-employment?

Did you know that older workers make up a significant proportion of the self-employed workers on the job market? For instance, the over 45s account for 49% of the total number of self-employed workers in the financial sector, 43% in the health and social sectors, and 31% in the property sector.

Being self-employed also allows you to use your experience to its full advantage, as well as offering various other benefits. Flexibility, the freedom to balance work and personal life, a proportionally higher income… there’s no shortage of attractions.

However, it’s also important to consider the disadvantages: self-employment means surrendering your status as a salaried employee and the advantages that come with it.  

denis-01"After being made redundant, I made the decision to become self-employed. I thought about it for a while and then realised that losing my job actually gave me an opportunity to offer my skills to companies who were aware of the added value that older workers possess, and which enables them to complete particular tasks and projects successfully. Once I got through the stress of my first projects and my worries about irregular income disappeared, I soon began to enjoy my new-found freedom as a self-employed worker. Now, I manage my own schedule to suit me. I definitely wouldn’t turn back the clock: I’m taking full advantage of all the benefits that come with being a freelancer.” Denis 49 years, Brussels

4. Why change career?

You might feel as if you’re at a standstill in your career and as if you’re no longer able to grow or progress any further in your work.

There are many different factors which might encourage you to retrain. Perhaps you want to evolve and showcase your achievements and experience in a new organisation which offers greater opportunities.  

Or maybe you’re suffering from a lack of motivation in your current job and this has led you to reconsider your career choice, or simply to want to change your day-to-day routine. Retraining offers new challenges and enables you to move towards a career which better corresponds to your current and future expectations.

aurelie-01Aurélie, 51 years: “One day, I’ll switch to a job where I can work more closely with people.” Today, Aurélie has her own coaching business, helping people wanting to change career. “At the age of 51, it’s quite a big deal to throw yourself into a new project, especially if you have to learn new skills or methods. But past experience is also a huge strength!”

5. 4 steps to help you change career

When you think about changing career, it’s easy to feel lost and therefore encounter problems and difficulties. To combat this feeling of disorientation, follow these preparatory steps so you’ll feel as ready as you can be:

  • Start by taking stock of your career. Review your achievements, experience, skills and completed projects you’re particularly proud of.
  • Take the time to clearly set out your personal and professional expectations. That way, you’ll refine your career plan and be able to look for something which really suits and works for you.
  • DIscuss your career change plans with your family and friends. Explain your aspirations and expectations and take the opportunity to reactivate your network.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact an organisation or coach to get some advice about the best solution for you.

New call-to-action6. Get a career coach

A career coach can be a great help when it comes to dealing with this kind of change. With their expertise and assistance, you’ll receive professional support which will help you to get a clearer view of things, and which will ultimately lead to a successful professional transition. A coach can offer you a personalised programme focusing on specific areas likely to help you move in the right direction:

  • Get to know yourself better
  • Get your self-confidence back
  • Set yourself goals

Don’t hesitate to get help from a career coach career coach if you need it: they can support you in your new project!

How to find a career coach?

Working with a career coach doesn’t have to impact your bank balance. MyNextCompany is one of the very few organisations, if not the only one on the Belgian market, that offers career coach services free of charge.

Get me a career coach!


As highlighted above, a career coach will not help to create a remarkable change instantly. But we can assure you that interaction with a career coach will create a positive and lasting impact on your career. This will then help you surge ahead in your professional life.

Alban Gaffori

Written by Alban Gaffori

Alban is a notorious multi-tasker and a pioneer in using digital technologies to reinvent today’s recruitment. Big believer in Smart Recruiting® as a tool to match top talent with the right employers. Privately a fan of mountain biking and hiking, he loves to travel to the four corners of the world.