Why is career change so difficult post graduation / 30s?

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  • Why is career change so difficult post graduation / 30s?
  • Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Currently contracting and it pays very well,

    I have started to feel that at age 45 I am already on the scrap heap

    Those two statements contradict each other…

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    Tbh I can see why a large company wouldn’t be keen to hire and train an older professional from another field with no experience or training and why they would much rather go for a graduate. If you do fancy a change then you need to play to your strengths. Maybe a smaller company where you could go in based on your IT experience then look to shift over a period of time. In general I’d say career changing is easier than it ever has been. You are in a good position if you are making good money, I presume you have a buffer, and you have a job you can easily fall back on if it doesn’t quite work out. You might just need to make a leap of faith.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Do you know enough about a sector to move out of programming & into Business Analysis?

    Or is the sector the problem?

    flanagaj
    Member

    Those two statements contradict each other…

    When I say scrap heap, I mean that it’s either IT or a minimum wage job.

    chewkw
    Member

    flanagaj – Member
    Why do companies not offer adult apprenticeships so that switching direction in later life is not so difficult.

    Because most large companies are very bureaucratic to allow for common sense to prevail so cannot justify older apprenticeship due to age … except they don’t tell you that but tell you porkies.

    It’s all about you age … not your commitment … your age.

    The only way for you to do something you like is to start a company yourself …

    flanagaj
    Member

    Do you know enough about a sector to move out of programming & into Business Analysis?

    Or is the sector the problem?The sector. Deep down I am a hands on person and IT just doesn’t interest me anymore.

    The other issue I am facing is that as a result of not being really interested in IT dev, I find that the ever evolving tech stack makes it difficult and I always feel vulnerable.

    I’ve gone from Oil and Gas to working in TV production.

    The problem is no one is going to pay for my previous skills in this industry because they’re completely irrelevant. So it’s starting at the bottom on minimum wage which is appropriate to my skills in this area.

    You can’t really expect someone to match your current wage when they could hire someone just as qualified straight out of uni on minimum wage or whatever.

    The caveat to that is that once I’m upto speed I’d expect to move up the career ladder much quicker (as soon as I can do a job I should be able to manage other people doing it rather than waiting ~7 years).

    mikey74
    Member

    As someone who is trying to get out of the architecture/construction industry at 42, I agree: It’s difficult, although I don’t agree with the “scrapheap” comment.

    I’m currently studying for a BSc in Geology and want to move into a related field. However, I feel no one is going to look at me without either 5 years experience or a PHD, despite the fact I have 15+ years of running multiple projects worth hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds.

    Having said that, I don’t think these things are specifically related to age, as the same seems to be true, regardless of how old you are. We may feel it’s harder because time isn’t on our side.

    I do like your idea of adult apprenticeships, though, especially as I feel I have a lot to offer, aside from specific subject-knowledge.

    Premier Icon nwmlarge
    Subscriber

    Adult apprenticeships are generally not the norm because the older people are so expensive.

    Have a look at the government guidance for paying an apprentice.

    larrydavid
    Member

    I’m currently studying for a BSc in Geology and want to move into a related field. However, I feel no one is going to look at me without either 5 years experience or a PHD, despite the fact I have 15+ years of running multiple projects worth hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds.

    Having said that, I don’t think these things are specifically related to age, as the same seems to be true, regardless of how old you are. We may feel it’s harder because time isn’t on our side.

    I wonder how much some of this is driven by people being wary of hiring/managing someone who may be older and more experienced (albeit in a different field from them)

    IHN
    Member

    Do you know enough about a sector to move out of programming & into Business Analysis?

    That’s what the cool kids do 8)

    Seriously though, what sector are you in (very few companies are just ‘IT’, they’re ‘IT for something’)? BA contracting give you an opportunity to work on lots of different stuff, even within one sector. As an example, in five years in financial services I’ve worked on corporate lending for a retail bank, investment fund pricing for a life company, launching an online savings platform for a building society, online card payments for ISAs for a wealth management company and more. Variety is the spice of life.

    Premier Icon Del
    Subscriber

    Because most large companies are very bureaucratic to allow for common sense to prevail

    true

    so cannot justify older apprenticeship due to age … except they don’t tell you that but tell you porkies.

    It’s all about you age … not your commitment … your age.

    not true

    i suppose a 50% hit rate isn’t bad going for you.

    businesses don’t want to train people. it must be the time of year for the association of business directors ( or whoever ) to come out with their annual moan that kids leaving school just aren’t ready to go to work. they basically want drones who will drop straight in to a job without the business having to make any investment at all. can’t really blame them i suppose. who doesn’t want something for nothing?

    anyway OP, sounds like you just need to find the right role. in our firm you would get the opportunity to do more hands on stuff if you wanted it, even if you’d come in as a programmer.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Yes, absolutely (48)

    Even more annoying for me is that having spent 25 years with some major corporate manufacturers and now deliberately in an SME, having worked across virtually all the functions (Sales&Mktg, technical manufacturing, supply chain, planning and forecasting – all i’m really missing is pure HR, IT and finance) I’m deliberately seeking out jobs in the charity / social / NFP sector, many of which ‘encourage’ applications from outside the charity sector but with transferrable skills – and 3x now I’ve been rejected because they’ve had someone from within the sector. Their gene pool is getting ever more inbred where ‘we do it like this because we always do it like this’ becomes the norm everywhere.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    businesses don’t want to train people.

    Not all e.g. JLR have a massive adult training program….

    willjones
    Member

    @ theotherjonv I am in the Charity Sector, and recruiting, and getting a bit fed up of the gene pool. What are you looking for?

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    I know quite a few folk who have changed career in their 30s or later. They were all realistic about their earning potential though, accepting that they’d be starting at the bottom.

    Another options would be to self-employed. That way you could pay yourself as much as you could afford.

    Premier Icon Del
    Subscriber

    cool! happy to be corrected.
    edit: @ footflaps.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    @will jones

    email in profile, happy to ping you CV and give you a call.

    badnewz
    Member

    It’s crap, you can train for an industry then it all disappears, and you are left in your 30s or 40s and time is against you.

    Premier Icon Andy_B
    Subscriber

    When I say scrap heap, I mean that it’s either IT or a minimum wage job.

    This seems pretty close to the truth for recruitment in London right now. Apart from that, if you’re not an exact match for the role it’s near impossible to get past the recruiters which is totally understandable but very frustrating.

    flanagaj
    Member

    in our firm you would get the opportunity to do more hands on stuff if you wanted it, even if you’d come in as a programmer.

    Now I am curious. What sector do you work in and when you say hands on stuff?

    For the record, I have worked in Fixed Income Finance IT and am currently working in Aerospace IT. The latter is only because there is no finance IT around here and when I worked in London I lived away.

    Not sure which of them is the lesser of 2 evils.

    The other issue with IT programming dev is that I constantly find myself surrounded by uber geeks who always want to implement the latest and greatest or who just want to implement something that is totally over engineered.

    I am pragmatic and so long as it does the job, can easily be supported and understood by other mediocre devs like myself then it’s good to go. I find this trait is quite rare with IT developers.

    chewkw
    Member

    Andy_B – Member
    Apart from that, if you’re not an exact match for the role it’s near impossible to get past the recruiters which is totally understandable but very frustrating.

    I think getting past the online application filtering system (those looking for exact match) is much more difficult than meeting people face to face.

    Premier Icon Del
    Subscriber

    we’re in the fibre optics business, manufacturing kit to process fibre, so a bit of electronics, mechanical, embedded code/micro-controllers, real time control, GUI, IP, applications, development etc. etc.
    not recruiting BTW, at least not for this role, but we can’t be the only ones who have eyes open to people who aren’t necessarily a shoe-in, or who are prepared to let employees develop and branch out. we’re a small bunch, and having your face fit is more important, at least to a large degree.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I for sometime now have been looking to get out of IT programming. Currently contracting and it pays very well, but I find it soul destroying and do not feel like I am doing anything meaningful.

    The issue I find at 45 is that if you want to move into a totally different sector, eg engineering then your only option is to take a punt and go back to uni in the hope that after graduation you’ll get employment.

    Why do companies not offer adult apprenticeships so that switching direction in later life is not so difficult.

    I have started to feel that at age 45 I am already on the scrap heap 🙁

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    ^

    when i recruit I always consider there are three aspects.

    1/ your skills; that is what can you do. Can you program, are you a synthetic chemist, an accountant, a logistics specialist, etc. They can be taught.

    2/ What do you know; about the industry, about the technology, about the products, competition, etc. That comes with experience and is gained.

    Both of these are not fixed – indeed in jobs where I felt I wasn’t ‘learning’ something every day or finding something out new every day, i would be bored quickly.

    3/ You. What are you like and how will you get on with people / fit in to this company. And that’s ingrained and while not impossible to modify, you are what you are.

    I’ll happily forego some of 1 or 2, as long as the person is a tick in box 3. The worst recruiting decision (I) ever made (actually wasn’t mine but i should have been stronger back to the recruiting HR manager with concerns) was someone who had 1 and 2 in spades but within 6 months had alienated just about everyone she worked with.

    finbar
    Member

    After a bit of time as a civil servant and a bit of time in academia, I thought I’d give chasing megabucks a go and got a place on the graduate management accountancy training scheme of a FTSE 100 travel company.

    I lasted four months – I couldn’t cope with the lack of responsibility (i.e. freedom and interest), the exams, and being a decade older than everyone else on the scheme. Fortunately I escaped to a great job back in Whitehall.

    Retraining isn’t always easy or as much of an improvement as you think it will be.

    sands
    Member

    flanagaj – Member
    The issue I find at 45 is that if you want to move into a totally different sector, eg engineering then your only option is to take a punt and go back to uni in the hope that after graduation you’ll get employment

    .
    I did this at 40. If you (or anybody else) are thinking investing three years on this ‘hope’, I would advise you first contact as many (relevant) mature students as you can for their experiences of applying for the first position after graduation. For mature graduates, it can be very tough.

    larrydavid – Member
    I wonder how much some of this is driven by people being wary of hiring/managing someone who may be older and more experienced (albeit in a different field from them)

    ^^^^ plus one

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Subscriber

    Try switching when you’ve been in the same trade since you were 14 (now 48), and don’t have a qualification/certificate to your name! 🙂

    wobbliscott
    Member

    I’m amazed you’re struggling to get into an engineering job. I’ve been in engineering for 28 years man and boy – more traditional engineering, but the job of an engineer these days is more about being sat at a screen……programming. Well working on computers at least and modelling, which inevitably involves some level of programming because there are never any off-the-shelf modelling software that can do the job for specific products, so engineering companies end up having to do R&D and develop their own models. And because of that I would have thought you would have been in demand – it’s easier to teach you engineering than taking a 45 year old engineer and teaching them programming.

    If you’re struggling to get in with an engineering company then maybe go contracting, get some experience and establish contacts within a company then jump ship.

    mattsccm
    Member

    You’re not the only one. At 54 I’d love to move from teaching but it’s too late. My only previous “career” was a casual mix out OE instructing and managing outdoor shops. A degree in the former is no good at all nowadays.

    devash
    Member

    I wonder how much some of this is driven by people being wary of hiring/managing someone who may be older and more experienced (albeit in a different field from them)

    This is a huge issue nowadays.

    I wouldn’t waste your time and money on a degree. You’d be better of using that 60k setting up your own company. You already have a ton of real world experience, the trick is to pick out all the relevant bits and use those to sell yourself to your desired role.

    Career change thread and it takes this long to mention teaching and its someone wanting to get out!! Says everything you need to k ow a out education at the moment!!

    badnewz
    Member

    Career change thread and it takes this long to mention teaching and its someone wanting to get out!! Says everything you need to k ow a out education at the moment!!

    I realise teaching in the UK is pants and getting worse by the year. But have you ever met someone who says, “I love my job/career, it’s great, you should definitely go into it.”

    Looking back, most people I knew growing up would say, “Don’t do what I do…go into teaching/law/accountancy”. Then you meet people in those fields and they say the same thing (or will say, “It’s boring as hell but it pays ok”).

    I’m not sure I have a point except that most people dislike their jobs, which when you look at it, is a very depressing thing. But I do feel for teachers especially as in my experience they are good, outgoing people whose lives are being made a misery by never-ending government interventions.

    mattsccm
    Member

    Its not that teaching is bad but 23 years at anything would bore the tits off me.
    I’m just bored and as life trickles by I want something I enjoy.

    Premier Icon igm
    Subscriber

    Well if it helps.

    I love my job. Sorry you can’t have it.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    I love my job/career, it’s great, you should definitely go into it.

    🙂

    badnewz
    Member

    Well if it helps.

    I love my job. Sorry you can’t have it.

    That’s the wrong response. If you truly love your job, you need to tell everyone it is terrible, hell on earth, wouldn’t wish it on your worse enemy etc.

    Then you have less competition.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I love my job

    Pornstar?

    Premier Icon igm
    Subscriber

    Badnewz – I’m happy with competition, enjoy it even. I’m good though. Happy to back myself in most situations.

    Premier Icon Andy_B
    Subscriber

    And because of that I would have thought you would have been in demand – it’s easier to teach you engineering than taking a 45 year old engineer and teaching them programming.

    Why would you employ an expensive programmer and let them do engineering? It’s software guys that are in demand. Electrical engineers make money by moving to IT in various forms, civils guys are managing big projects and mech guys are wishing it was 50 years ago.

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