Far from winding down slowly towards retirement, more people than ever choose to change careers at 50. In fact, in 2020, over 1 in 10 (11%) of those aged 50 or older said they were interested in changing careers in the next 5 years.

For some, making such a big change in their life can be daunting, but we’re here to reassure older workers that life’s too short to be stuck in a job you don’t enjoy, and it’s never too late to try something new. If you’re considering a change, for whatever reason it may be, take a look at our guide to help understand if this is the right choice for you and learn how to maximise your experience and skillset.

Why Do People Consider Changing Careers at 50?

There may be a variety of reasons you may want to change your career at the age of 50. Here are the most common ones.

Desire for Change

A common reason for people wanting to change their career at 50 is their desire for change. When people have been in a job for a long time, they can find themselves getting bogged down and bored with their day-to-day activities. Changing careers can allow you to learn an entirely new skillset and be challenged. A change in day-to-day activities can reduce boredom and improve performance. Even a change in surroundings or associates can make career changers feel refreshed.

Facing Redundancy/ Struggling to Get a New Role

Facing redundancy or being out of work can be an incredibly difficult time for people often leaving them stressed and feeling lost, not knowing how to get their career back on track. A change in careers can help people move past this and achieve things they never would have dreamed of. Even though redundancy can be a worrying prospect, you can make the most out of this unexpected life event by refreshing your career and taking on a new role where you may be more comfortable, happy, and satisfied. If you are facing redundancy, take a look at our redundancy assistance guide.

Fewer Hours/ Responsibility

Often when workers get to 50, they wish to take on less responsibility or shorter working hours, whether it’s to reduce stress levels or spend more time with loved ones. Changing careers can provide people with the opportunity to find a job that fits their schedule.

Reasons to Consider Changing Career at 50


People over the age of 50 are attractive candidates to employers for many reasons. They have accumulated years of useful experience, tend to have a strong work ethic and are confident, level-headed, and well organised. Don’t let concerns about finding a new role put you off chasing your dream career, because you might find that you’re in demand!

Change of Pace

You don’t have to go from one full-time role to another. You might find your ideal role is a part-time one or may have always wanted to start your own company. The key is to be open-minded and flexible. Starting a new career can give you the opportunity to slow things down or speed things up as you wish.

You Know What You Want

By the time they hit 50, most people have a good idea of what they want in life, and this is true of their career too. Often when people embark on their careers at a young age, they’re not totally sure exactly what they want to get out of their job or where they want to end up in their career. Changing careers at 50 can give people the chance to start fresh with a clear goal in mind. Career transition experts say older people will often have the self-awareness to know what they want from a career. Once you know exactly what you want, you might as well go for it!

You Can Access Support and Training

Undoubtedly you will face new challenges as you embark on your career change, but there is support out there. The government is embracing the skills, experience, and economic potential of the older generation. They actively support training programmes, including adult apprenticeships, to help over-50s enter into industries in desperate need of reliable workers with diverse skill sets.

Technological advances are one of the most significant changes since you first started work, but it does not need to be a barrier. If you feel less comfortable with modern technology, there are numerous, often subsidised courses that allow adults to brush up on their technical skills and confidence in IT. These include out-of-working-hours night courses.

Things to Consider Before Changing Career

Consider Your Home Life

It’s important to remember that changing careers can become increasingly difficult as we get older, partly because our responsibilities increase with age. At 50, you are more likely to have financial restraints, such as a mortgage or children to provide for. You need to be sure that your new role can meet your needs when it comes to working hours and salary.

Use Your Skill Set

While many people may set their sights on developing a new skill set when they start a new role, it is important to remember and utilise the skills you already have to make sure you can be successful in your new job. For example, if you’ve got an eye for design, perhaps a career in interior design or fashion could be a great fit for you.

Be Realistic

It’s important to remember how much time it could take to reach the kind of seniority you achieved in your current or previous career. Make sure to take some time to consider how much you’ll be able to achieve in your new career and whether you’ll be happy with this in the long term.

Consider Your Passions

Don’t forget that if like many people, you plan to retire at 65 or later, you still have 15+ working years ahead of you. Even if you require a few years of extra training or education, you will still spend a decade of your life working in your new role, so make sure it’s something you can see yourself doing in the long term.

How to Change Your Career at 50

Determine Why You Want to Change Career

The first step is always to consider why you want to change careers in the first place and what you’re looking for in your next career. Explore the reasons why you felt unsatisfied with your previous career and establish your priorities for your new role. Make sure that your new role fits your key criteria, for example, if your current job doesn’t feel very rewarding, make sure to pursue a more rewarding career as your next one.

Research, Research, Research!

Before committing to a particular career path, ensure you have extensively researched the responsibilities, outlook, wage and hours, and any additional training or education requirements. Don’t be put off if further education is essential for your dream career. Some options allow students to earn while studying, including the Open University and part-time college or university.

Choose Your New Career

If you are struggling to decide which career is right for you, we have dedicated guides to inspire you. Changing career at 50 is a big step, and you need to be confident you are making the right change. Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice from a careers counsellor.

An essential part of the career planning process is self-assessment. Take the time to consider your personality type, interests, work-related values, and goals. This will help you choose a career that suits you and your needs. Be sure to consider your career potential in each role and what additional education or qualifications you may need to start this new career path.

Make a Plan

Once you’ve chosen your new career you should make a career plan that details your professional expectations and goals. This plan should outline the expectations of your new job, including working hours, salary and professional development opportunities. Having a guide of what you want to get out of the job and where you expect to be in the next five to ten years could help you be more successful.

Update Your CV

It may have been a while since you updated your CV. Spend some time adjusting your CV to highlight your years of experience and diverse skill set. Take a look at our CV writing tips to help get you started. Be sure to tailor your CV to suit the job you are applying for by including relevant skills and experience. It is worth taking some time to learn the essentials of your new field in order to put together a powerful CV and cover letter that demonstrates your suitability for your new career.

If you are considering changing your career you can visit our specialist jobs board to see what opportunities are available to you. Take a look at our NHS jobs for ex-teachers, jobs for ex-hairdressers, jobs for ex-builders and our jobs for ex-veterinarians