Returning to the workplace at 50 plus

“You are the sum total of all your learnings and life experiences to date and that’s what makes you valuable.” says writer Cindy Gallop.

With more baby boomers putting off retirement the relevance of ageism is pushed to the forefront of the work environment, especially in the advertising industry where 40 plus is a shameful anomaly. And while many baby boomers thought they might be retiring soon this has changed with the ongoing threat of Covid, the war in Ukraine, and inflation, it’s become more common to see those over 50 returning to the workforce.

What are some of the challenges and advantages faced by this demographic in a marketplace that is geared in many ways towards the younger demographic, a demographic that may lack working knowledge but has the privilege of sitting on the cutting edge of lifestyle and technology?

WPP’s most recent annual report showed that, in 2019, around 38% of its 100,000 employees were below the age of 30, with 75% under 40.

Note, that while the 50-plus demographic may not be on the cutting edge of many things, they do bring considerable value to the workforce. In addition to life experience, working knowledge and business acumen acquired during the last 30 to 40 years in business, they are quite often more reliable, less excitable, and carry a sense of clarity that comes with life experience.

In fact, research shows that older employees are more likely to show up to work on time, and less likely to call in sick. Older workers also do not switch jobs as often as their younger colleagues. Older employees shine when it comes to maturity and professionalism – resulting in a strong work ethic.

In an AdAge Magazine op-ed piece entitled “As an Industry, We Can Battle Ageism,” writer Cindy Gallop encourages agency professionals to act to end ageism and to “own your age” “We don’t aspire to be young but young people aspire to be us. So lead with what’s inspirational about being older”

Personally for me, in addition to all of the uncertainty in the world, the return to the workplace also included an opportunity to be closer to family. I admit it was intimidating to roll into a new position in an office of 30-somethings with nimble fingers bouncing from program to program at warp speed and me lumbering through my training phase hoping and praying that my fingers and brain will be able to keep up. Fortunately, after four weeks or so, I think my muscle memory has kicked in and I am feeling more agile on all levels.

I am grateful to be a part of a company that doesn’t shy away from the idea of bringing someone a bit older on board and embraces what I have to contribute. 

Credits – 

AdAge Magazine, Cindy Gallop


Quote WPP Chief Executive Mark Read –