The Covid Coders

in Technology Insight

Apart from the clear and present pressure that COVID-19 has given rise to in terms of daily life, it has also unleashed some anxieties regarding careers.

Career anxiety is a major side-effect of the pandemic and it’s affecting workers of every age. Young people are concerned about their career prospects, but the over-45s are just as worried about their future. This has sparked a wave of interest in mid-life professional pivots, with our research revealing that one in four over-45s is considering a career switch or role change.

This growing interest in “encore careers” is motivated by insecurity about the future. One-in-three over-45s cite fears about financial security as one of the reasons they’re exploring new career paths.

Technology offers a unique way to dip toes into something new. A few hours a week learning to code, or mastering an application of software specific to a new vocation can reap rewards. Gibraltar is in a special place regarding the make up of its economy – the traditional economy has been built up over centuries, and the newer digital aspects of what is available stands us in good stead for the future. As one of the leading Blockchain/DLT jurisdictions in the world, coupled with a need for Python and Java programmers, this 2.5 square mile micro-state is pretty unique.

Research by Microsoft has revealed that over-45s currently employed in sales, media and marketing (58%), manufacturing and utilities (54%), finance (53%) and travel and transport (52%) are the most likely to be considering a new career.

But despite their willingness to adapt and “upskill”, only 23% of over-45s say they’d consider a technology career, and 60% say they don’t know what resources are available to improve their digital skills.

This, despite estimates that more than three million skilled people will be needed in the technology sector by 2025.

Simon Lambert, Chief Learning Officer at Microsoft UK, said “There is a dangerous misconception that the tech industry is just an industry for the young. The truth is that we need people with a diverse range of experiences, backgrounds and ages. And we need them now to fill the growing skills gap which, left unplugged, will significantly impact the economic recovery post-COVID.”

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, a digital community for the over 50s, said “Investing time into learning digital and technology skills is important for self-development at any age, however one of the biggest barriers for this generation of workers is simply a lack of confidence. Tailored, accessible courses to help boost the digital skills of mid-life career changers will help to open up new career paths as we rebuild a future for the economy post-pandemic.”

One example of a successful mid-life tech career changer is Carol Milligan, 57. After 25 years working on the ground for an airline, she was made redundant at the age of 48. Following some professional career advice, Carol used her transferable skills and landed a role troubleshooting technical problems for customers at leading travel technology company Amadeus, one of the backbone systems to book flights.

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