Corporate Australia is missing out on an untapped wealth of talent as it tries to tackle an ongoing recruitment crisis.
That’s one of the conclusions and several words of advice from Natalie Yan-Chatonsky, whose new book examines how midlife women are thriving against the odds.
Natalie - Deputy Chair of FINSIA’s Diversity Advisory Council - set about writing The Art of Full Time Living during the pandemic as her own advice workshops took a back seat during the pandemic.
The result is a guide for women who are looking to carve out fulfilling lives as they transition through midlife changes.
But it could equally be adopted as a manual for business leaders juggling their focus to tackle the staffing and skills shortages that have followed COVID, with large swathes of the workforce stepping aside from their careers leading to the Great and Quiet Resignation.
“No one is really talking about women in their 50s, which is the cohort that is hiding in plain sight to employers,” said Natalie.
“Many are now rising out of the aftermath of lockdowns, resetting their priorities for their next chapter as they face menopause, have reduced demands of caring for children as they are grown and in some cases, this is linked to becoming single again.
They are committed to finding jobs where they can contribute their strengths, keep learning to stay relevant, make a positive difference. The bonus is that they can grow their relatively low superannuation balances.
“There are many who are incredibly talented, have incredible experience and deep connections who want to progress to more senior roles or reinvent themselves by stepping into future-of-work roles that connect the new division of labour between humans and machines.
“That’s where recruiters are missing the chance to make an impact as a lot of women are having difficulty getting back into corporate roles.
“The issue is compounded because we do undoubtedly suffer from a certain amount of ageism here in Australia. It’s the last acceptable form of discrimination.
“But there’s a gap in the market that this cohort could more than fill – they would excel there.
“As I explain in the book in one of the sections where I explain why retirement is dead, many older women have the perfect mix of desire and capability.”
While Nat’s goal for the book wasn’t to focus on the financial element of transitioning to later life, the 20-plus vignettes provide inspirational insights into business and leadership.an important segment of the workforce that is seeking financial independence.
They include stories from across the breadth of Australian women, from a Federal member of Parliament to a board executive and a financial adviser, to a woman who started her own business at 50 after her marriage of 27 years ended and she discovered the joys of solo travel for the first time.
“She followed her intuition to set up a travel business for women walking the Camino de Santiago. She now lives in Spain with her new partner,” explained Nat.
While that particular highlights the way some people find their whole world turned upside down, it’s not always about radical resets, according to Natalie.
“The secret is not a radical change, but running ‘experiments’ to see what works for the individual.
“In research for my new book The Art of Full Time Living, I talked to a whole range of professional women. What I heard from them – and learned from their lives - backs up the academic research about the strengths of midlife women:
- They have highly developed people, communication and prioritisation skills.
- They’ve built wide and deep webs of relationships – with colleagues and customers, across their industry and the wider society.
- They have greater ‘crystallised intelligence’, the ability to use learned knowledge and experience
- They have advanced skills and are willing to mentor more inexperienced staff.”
To purchase a gift-wrapped autographed copy of The Art of Full Time Living – Design a Meaningful and Connected Life $49.95 or speak to Natalie about getting experienced motivated women to drive your business forward as a powerful solution to the skills shortage - visit www.fulltimelives.com