In the first of four articles about our ‘Confidence Report’, Mair Rowlands shares her experience of workplace confidence.
By Mair Rowlands: Chwarae Teg – North Wales Regional Project Co-ordinator.
In the past 20 years, over-50s have accounted for 72 per cent of the growth in women’s employment ( ONS, Labour Force Survey, 2012 & 2013 ).
Research has shown that women in their twenties see 51 as the start of old age but as a woman a little ( OK, a lot ) over the age of fifty I don’t see myself as old or as having less to offer than anyone else. In fact, I feel I have a lot more to offer than someone half my age even though I may not have the qualifications they have.
I have worked constantly since I was fourteen, having been a manager for a large supermarket and responsible for millions of pounds of takings and a whole store of staff and customers.
I have been responsible for the purchase ledger, sales ledger and VAT for a company with a £3 million turnover at the same time bringing up my children, keeping a home and being damn good at my job.
So isn’t this relevant when I apply for a job or a promotion? Yes it is but will I tell them all about it in my interview? Probably not, and all because I fear they may start to add up the years and come to the conclusion they’d be better off with someone younger.
We live in a culture of youth where people can be famous not for their talent but for their looks. To look younger than you are is the biggest compliment a woman can get so is it any surprise that women are so age conscious and lacking in confidence?
Even though research now shows that employers recognise the value of employing women over fifty and very few would discriminate when looking for staff, women still feel this is an issue.
Increasing confidence is one of the hardest things to achieve and most women fail miserably when it comes to self-promotion. However, if we were to list all our jobs both employed and as a wife, mother, carer, housekeeper and all the other roles we do and then list all the skills that these roles require, we would see just how talented and amazing we really are.