Phoenix and Connectr leading the way when it comes to accessing diverse talent


11th September 2023

Read time

5 minutes

Did you know there’s a demographic sea change approaching?

Before the pandemic the over 50s were the fastest growing segment in the UK workforce, and a few forward thinking and progressive employers welcomed them with open arms.

Remember the Great Resignation and the record number of over 50s that left the workforce altogether; the global pandemic was a BIG event which changed career priorities, individuals had time to stop and think and reconfigure what life / work life looked life for them. Many had final salary pensions which meant they had the freedom to leave.

There’s another trend compounding the talent gap and that is the fact that there aren’t as many young people coming into the UK workforce, with 7 million young people entering the workforce and 12 million experienced people exiting. Half of the UK workforce will be over 50 in 2 years-time, so organisations need to become adept at engaging with, hiring, upskilling and reskilling their older workforce.

If you look further ahead, the stats become even more shocking with the UK workforce shrinking by 25% in 2050.

The Phoenix Group (the UKs largest long-term savings and retirement business) have been doing so much work in this space. You can listen to Catherine Foot from‘Phoenix Insights’ (the new longevity think tank launched at the end of 2021, reimagining how we work, learn, save and live in an age of longer lives) talking to the wonderful Avivah Wittenberg-Cox on the ‘4 Quarter Lives’ Podcast.

Avivah talks about our 3rd Quarter of 100 year live, which is between 50 and 75 and we need to reimagine these years, with careers that don’t end at 50.

The Phoenix Group and Connectr have created a pioneering, comprehensive programme focused on hiring over 50s. Group HR director at Phoenix, Sara Thompson, explained: “Older workers have a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience that are of enormous value in the workforce. At Phoenix Group we’re committed to recruiting and retaining over 50s and we are delighted to be working with Connectr in this field.”

“We want to make Phoenix Group the best place anyone has ever worked and a key part of that ambition is working with employees to empower them to work the way they want to.”

Sara added, “We are partnering with Connectr to specifically showcase roles to over 50s and we have put policies and training programmes in place to attract older workers into our workforce, addressing and mitigating some of the most common reasons why over 50s leave work.

“We’re offering flexible working opportunities and providing support for women going through the menopause. We also provide paid carers leave and we’re currently piloting a mid-life MOT.”

The ‘Your New Future’ Programme created and delivered by Connectr, in Scotland and England, includes:


  • In partnership with Job Centre Plus, and including a careers fair, hosted at Phoenix, for over 50’s, with a huge diverse range of work history and lived experience

2.A Pre-employment Programme

  • With cohorts from 15-30 which focus on areas such as

i.Growing confidence

ii.Bringing roles to life and dispelling myths

iii.Building skills for the different stages of the recruitment process

iv.Enabling individuals to reflect on and understand their strengths and what

roles would suit them best

v.How to translate past experiences into skills

vi.Meeting role models

vii.And a guaranteed interview at the end of a 1-week programme

3.A supportive and inclusive screening and selection process

  • Shaped around transferable skills, not qualifications
  • Where candidates are set up for success ahead of each stage of the process

4.Preparing them for day one which includes

  • Sharing more information about the role, upcoming induction and training
  • Connecting new starters with others in their teams and line manager

5.Proactive & bespoke support in the first 10 weeks in role, for all those who start with Phoenix

  • Support them as a cohort in their new role and from a health and wellbeing perspective
  • Weekly group calls and 121s
  • Access to a mentor

This exciting and game-changing programme, means individuals are supported at every stage of their journey back into work, and if Phoenix does not become their new employer, they are better placed to build a ‘New Future’ for themselves.

Here’s Charlotte’s (Connectr’s talent partner) thoughts. “We’re reflecting on a fabulous couple of weeks at Phoenix where Connectr have been working on Phoenix’s “Your New Future Programme” – Incredible cohorts of “over 50’s” who are looking to get back into work and needing a fresh approach to their job search. A weeklong in-depth course developing confidence, upskilling and network building. A great example of Phoenix Group taking action and Connectr supporting all talent progress into work and a range of roles at Phoenix – An Inspiring week and exciting times ahead for all!”

Here’s a comment from a Phoenix ‘Your New Future’ attendee:

“As the week progressed, I have felt myself grow and regain some of the confidence one loses when underutilised. This week has given me the opportunity to feel valuable and that the long yearned for second career is not only possible but within my grasp.”