“Why is no one offering me a job? What do I do next as I don’t want to continue doing the same thing? Can I do something entirely different from what my career has been focused on so far? Why can I not be hired for my strengths and not based only on my past roles?”

These are some intriguing questions posed by senior executives that I have career-coached on. After coaching over 150 such eager professionals, my realisations are –

– a majority of those looking at role/job alternatives are already burned out

– they are in their early to late 40s…so, with around 15-25 years of experience

– their current/recent roles are threatened by automation or just monotony

– they are unable to even imagine doing anything different from their past roles

– growth in roles or responsibilities is slowing or absent, in most cases

– more and more executives are reporting to younger managers.

From a demand perspective, there is a lot of young talent available in the market today. Frequency of hierarchical promotions reduces at higher levels. Executives continue to focus on execution than strategizing, envisioning or leading organisations, thus limiting their ability to punch above their weight.

Empirical evidence is now strongly indicating that, many professionals in their 40s will have to prepare for further slowdown in their growth prospects. They are likely to be faced with severe stagnancy, frustration, under performance and, in worst cases, redundancy!

To prepare for this uncertainty, ambitious executives will have to equip themselves by –

– showing agility by taking on new roles and responsibilities as early as possible

– Network well within and outside their organization

– significantly enhance their emotional intelligence in dealing with people and situations

– explore future career moves based on personal/leadership strengths than work experiences alone

The writing is clear on the wall – the 50s will be the new 60s undoubtedly and, unfortunately!