The (Re-) Integration of 50-Plus Individuals in the Legal Job Market: Some Recommendations
As a dedicated Legal Recruitment Partner, we are prepared to assist individuals of diverse ages and from various sectors in finding their ideal jobs. Nevertheless, it's noteworthy that individuals aged 50 and above have been encountering a few more obstacles lately when attempting to (re)enter the legal playing field. Several factors such as prolonged unemployment, new technologies, and ways of working often make it challenging for 50-plus individuals to (re)secure their place in the legal job market. Therefore, in this article, we are pleased to share some ideas for providing 50-plus individuals with a smoother path to their position in the legal world. These recommendations are intended for both employers and the 50-plus individuals themselves.
Recommendations for Employers:
- Continuous Learning and Innovation:
Offer opportunities for education and upskilling, focused on developing new skills that are relevant to the current legal job market.
Laws, regulations, and case law are continually evolving (e.g., GDPR, ESG, new WVV...). Education and upskilling enable (older) legal professionals to update their knowledge and stay informed about new developments in their field.
Furthermore, the legal sector is also evolving with new technologies and tools (such as artificial intelligence) that can enhance work efficiency. Upskilling can assist (older) legal professionals in becoming familiar with new software, digital platforms, and research methods.
- Flexible Work Arrangements:
Provide flexible work arrangements to allow older employees to strike a better balance between work and personal life (e.g., part-time work or a few days of remote work). This way, as an employer, you demonstrate appreciation for their contribution and enable older employees to continue contributing to the company. The added benefit? A team overflowing with motivation and positive energy!
- Mentorship Programs:
Establish mentorship programs where older legal professionals can share their knowledge and experience with younger colleagues. This emphasizes the expertise and value of more senior legal professionals while fostering a positive work environment.
- Networking Opportunities:
Facilitate networking events where job-seeking individuals aged 50 and above can get acquainted with your company or office. When 50-plus individuals have been inactive in the job market for an extended period, a standard application process often seems like a significant and daunting step. Through networking events, this gap can be bridged, and both parties can connect in an informal manner.
- Age-Conscious Recruitment and HR Policies:
Keep the recruitment process fresh and open-minded. Remain vigilant about unintentional age discrimination. "Openminded hiring," a concept introduced by Accent Jobs where candidates are selected based on an anonymous CV, can assist in fairly evaluating older candidates. Ensure that HR policies consider age. A well-conceived age-conscious HR policy takes into account the different life stages of all employees, ensuring their applicability and longevity within the organization. Each life stage has its own charm and challenges.
- Social Benefits and Supplementary Perks:
Provide appropriate social benefits and age/health-related supplementary perks (e.g., comprehensive health insurance, supplementary pensions, vaccinations, ergonomics...) so that older employees feel supported and are physically capable of performing their work (and continuing to do so).
- Financial Incentives:
Lastly, the government also offers several financial incentives to employers who hire older workers. For instance, employers hiring older workers may be eligible for reductions in the social security contributions they owe (i.e., "target group reduction for older workers").
A Few Tips for Job-Seeking 50-Plus Individuals:
- Believe in Yourself:
The primary advice for job-seeking individuals aged 50 and above is not to remain idle but to dare to take matters into their own hands. Believe in your abilities and dare to highlight them.
The practical experience you've accumulated over the years is a treasure trove of knowledge. Consider building a digital portfolio with legal references and articles to showcase your work.
- Continuous Education:
As mentioned earlier, the legal landscape is ever-evolving. Stay up-to-date by delving into the latest legal hot topics. Give yourself an advantage by pursuing ongoing education. If you find a perfect position but lack a few skills, don't let that stop you. Display a willingness to learn—who knows where it might take you!
- Career Guidance:
Engage a career counselor or Recruitment Partner to accompany you on your professional journey. They will assist you in finding the perfect sector and position, refine your CV to perfection, and teach you the art of persuasive job applications. With their expertise, your career path can become clearer and more successful than ever before.
- Explore Legal Interim Management:
Be open to an alternative way of working. Freelancing offers you the freedom to apply your expertise on your terms. With Legal Interim Management, you choose your projects and working hours, enabling a perfect work-life balance. Seize this opportunity to take on new challenges, broaden your horizons, and flexibly apply your experience.
 For more information, we refer you to the website of the Flemish Government: https://www.vlaanderen.be/doelgroepvermindering-voor-oudere-werkende-werknemers