How to Steer Your Career Like a Champ In Your 50s

byShu Rin Hoe
  • Jul 23, 2021
  • 6 mins

Being in your 50s can be a challenging time for your career. As a mature employee, you may face competition from younger colleagues and may even be considered too costly for your company to retain due to your wealth of experience.

Additionally, with the accelerating pace of technological change, we understand that it can be daunting to keep pace with such developments within your organisation.

But fret not, because we have tips on how you can navigate your career through these potentially choppy waters and emerge a champ!

After decades of being in the workforce, it can be tempting to remain in your comfort zone and be contented with what you already know. However, such a mindset could lead you to become obsolete at work, putting you at risk of not getting promoted or even laid off.

To combat this, keep up-to-date with new developments in your organisation and your industry. You can do this by reading extensively and exploring new ideas with your colleagues. Learn a new skill that’s complementary to your work experiences to differentiate yourself from your peers.

Don’t shy away from learning from your younger colleagues as well, as they can provide new insights that might surprise you.


The business landscape has been continually changing as trends and technologies evolve. For instance, having knowledge in the digital arena has become a necessity today – meetings are being held virtually, contracts are being signed electronically and there seems to be a productivity-boosting app or software for just about anything, just to name a few. As such, take every opportunity to continuously upgrade your skills. Here are some ways to do so:

    • Take full advantage of the current initiatives and grants in Singapore
      In a bid to boost the employability of mature workers, the Singapore government is providing support and funding for both employers and employees. To learn about the latest initiatives that you are eligible for, check Workforce Singapore regularly for updates. Currently, some of the available support schemes include the following:

      - Additional SkillsFuture Credit (Mid-Career Support)
      Singaporeans aged 40 to 60 get an additional $500 in SkillsFuture Credit, on top of the standard, to sign up for courses. Take note that the top-up will expire on 31 December 2025.

      - SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy
      Singaporeans aged 40 and above can enjoy course fee subsidies of up to 90% for Government-funded courses at diploma, post-diploma, and undergraduate degree levels.

    • Embrace upskilling opportunities provided by your company
      Today’s organisations increasingly recognise the value of investing in their employees, and one key practice of such progressive organisations is to ramp up on learning and development initiatives. From digital literacy to soft-skill enhancement classes and even higher education courses, the opportunities for lifelong learning are endless. Check with your colleagues, managers, or the Human Resources Department on the opportunities available and upgrade away!
    • Take the initiative to upgrade your skills in your personal time
      If the courses provided by your company do not meet your needs and preferences, look elsewhere. Set a budget to pay for courses that interest you and will further your career in the long run. You can also sign up for courses listed on the SkillsFuture website, and use your SkillsFuture Credits to subsidise some of the fees.
  • Look to your younger colleagues for inspiration
    While you have garnered years of experience, your younger counterparts also have much to offer. For example, younger workers, having grown up in a different time, are likely to have different perspectives and skillsets that you can learn from. Having grown up in a world of rapid technological change, they are also likely to be better attuned to the speed at which digital work is advancing. Think of it as a mutually beneficial learning situation that can help to bridge fulfilling work relationships.

career in your 50s, upskilling in your 50s
One of the good things about growing older is that with age, comes experience. Make yourself invaluable to your team by being open and generous in sharing what you know, or by acting as a mentor to your younger colleagues.

By doing so, you get to showcase your wealth of knowledge and leadership skills, elevate your visibility in the company, widen your network, and sharpen your interpersonal and communication skills.

Beyond these, your years of experience in the industry, can also play an essential role in facilitating the growth of your younger co-workers. They, in turn, will be happy to help you in areas that they may be savvier with. 

career in your 50s, upskilling in your 50s
Opportunities often arise from who we know. Hence, having a strong network of contacts who know you and can vouch for your capabilities will be useful.

However, it is not all about business networking but also about forging friendships, even with those younger than you.

That said, it is important to be sincere and appreciative. Bond with them over a cup of coffee (or maybe bubble tea!) or another easy way to do so is to send thank-you notes and make an effort to celebrate their accomplishments as well. 

If you find your job or skillsets to be no longer relevant, or just have an itch for change after years of being in the same job or industry, consider revisiting unfulfilled dreams and passions.

Today, thanks to the various support schemes available, the concept of a mid-career switch has become increasingly acceptable and feasible, so don’t be afraid to embrace new career opportunities as they come! 

career in your 50s, upskilling in your 50s
Above it all, remember to stay upbeat and be open to changes as they come. The same tips apply to people of all ages – sleep well and eat well. You’ll be surprised to know that dressing well can also help to make you feel good about yourself.

Additionally, consider joining associations related to your work or passions, so that you’ll have opportunities to sharpen your skills and showcase your talents, boosting your confidence in the process. This will certainly help you to grow further in life.

career in your 50s, upskilling in your 50s
We’ve all heard it before – save for a rainy day. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic is living proof of an even greater need for it. To avoid unnecessary financial stress, the general advice is to save more and save early, build an emergency fund, and plan ahead for the next phase of your life. 

For instance, with just a single premium, Income’s Luxe Plus Solitaire provides monthly payouts1 from as early as the end of the third policy year till age 120. This means it’s never too late to start saving up! Furthermore, you have the option to receive these cash payouts1 or accumulate to receive interest2.

There is also Gro Cash Sure, an insurance savings plan that comes with a capital guarantee3 upon the end of premium term of 5 or 10 years. What's more, receive a lifetime of cash payouts up to 9.9%4 of the sum assured so you can prepare for rainy days while continuing to enjoy the things you love.

Hitting your 50s is a big milestone – just think about the growth and achievements you have amassed over the years, both at work and in life! It is thus essential to plan ahead so that should anything derail your career, the funds you have built will help tide you over and allow you to enjoy your prime years to the fullest. 

For more information, reach out to our friendly Income advisors today!

Tags: Careers
Shu Rin Hoe is a business writer with over nine years of experience in writing, spanning lifestyle, travel, health and wellness and finance.

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