Apprentice star and vice-chairperson of West Ham United FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today, she helps someone who is worried about the increased pension age and someone who feels stuck in a job they are good at with no hope of a pay rise or promotion.
Q) I’m in my mid-50s, and since the pension age for women has increased, I will have to work for longer than I originally intended.
I have a private pension, but I will need to continue to build this pot in order to secure a comfortable retirement.
I’m an independent travel agent, but this is only a part-time role and I will likely need to find a second job to create a portfolio career for the next few years.
Having worked in the travel industry my whole life, I don’t know what else I could do – and I’m worried my age will count against me. Do you have any advice?
Julie, via email
A) It sounds like you are managing your finances brilliantly, so well done for that.
Having to work for longer than you hoped means it’s even more important to find something that you love to do.
Could you take on more customers to go full-time in your travel agent role?
You could look at different ways to attract clients – maybe working with small companies, as well as individuals with complex needs.
Create a LinkedIn profile that details your experience and the travel expertise you have, and ask clients for testimonials.
Or you could supplement your independent travel agent role with an employed position, perhaps within a hotel or other business where you can give advice to travellers.
The travel industry has greatly suffered during the pandemic, yet most of us are desperate to do it as soon as we can, and companies that require travel will be keen to get their teams back on the road, so there will be a demand for skilled agents.
Don’t see your age as a barrier – you have many years’ experience that younger colleagues won’t have.
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Q) I was a stay-at-home mum for 10 years, before starting an entry-level admin job in 2019 – and now I feel stuck.
Over the past year or so, I’ve been given more responsibilities and have been told I’m a valued worker, but I have no hope of being promoted or getting a pay rise.
I’ve worked in the office throughout the pandemic, juggling childcare and picking up the slack from colleagues who either can’t or won’t do their jobs properly. Where do I go from here?
A) You need to understand why your manager is telling you that you have no hope of being promoted or getting a pay rise.
At times, we all have to pick up the slack when business demands increase, but if it becomes a permanent part of your role, then it’s only fair that your salary reflects this.
Look at your job description and add into it all the extra responsibilities you have taken on.
Request a meeting to discuss your role, and explain why you deserve a salary increase.
If your manager says no, ask why. If it’s a budget reason, ask if a higher salary can be budgeted in next year’s forecasts. If this comes to nothing, it’s time to move on.
Update your CV and LinkedIn profile, and look for roles where you will be paid for the work you provide.
There is also a growing number of virtual admin roles available now there is a greater understanding of how we can successfully work from home, and this may give you the freedom of flexible working hours and make it easier to juggle childcare. Good luck!
Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email [email protected]smag.co.uk.
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