It shouldn’t be news to anyone that we are all going to live longer. By 2045, 25% of the UK population will be over 65. We are already seeing the impact of this on our health and social care system, as government looks to reconfigure the delivery of services and find a way of meeting the cost.

There have always been outliers – those whose working lives are a lot longer than those of the rest of us. Prince Philip is one of them. In the week it was announced that he will retire from public engagements in the summer, at the age of 96, we were particularly struck by the final paragraph of ‘A royal precedent for longer working lives’, the second editorial in Saturday 6 May’s Financial Times,

Above all, it is time to scrap any lingering notion that older workers are slow, set in their ways or out of touch. Increasingly they will be setting the trends. And as Prince Phillip can attest, 70 year olds may have a long stretch of working life ahead of them.

The editorial identifies the challenges of increasing life expectancy, and the problems for both employers and employees, and notes that

Some people can avoid these problems by striking out on their own. A Bank of England study estimated that about half of a striking increase in self-employment over the past decade was due to ageing of the workforce. This is a positive development: older workers often have the experience and contacts needed to set up their own business or sell their skills as a consultant. Many are keen to continue working for longer, so long as they have autonomy and can control their hours.

But, as in all things, the key to successful career transition is preparation.

At Milestones we help senior professionals find opportunities beyond their firms and prepare for the next stage of their careers.

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