Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Entrepreneur or corporate leader? For pre-retirement senior executives, there are still good opportunities available

Recently we have seen a number of very capable and seasoned corporate executives decline good job offers from established companies.

Most executives, particularly men over 50, would jump at the opportunity to occupy a senior-level permanent position in an established and stable environment, provided that the company and role was suitable.

However, these executives – in their 50s with proven track records in the corporate environment – wished to run their own businesses, having been persuaded to join new ventures by partners or business associates. The prospect of being their own boss seemed more exciting than reporting to work and having to answer to a chairman.

One of these executives, surprisingly, declined a board-level position so that he could run a trading business. In this challenging and volatile economic environment, entrepreneurship is clearly a risk, especially for sole breadwinners. However, this executive was determined to give running his own business a try.

In a reversal of this trend, we have also seen experienced entrepreneurs who have been business owners for many years opting to join the corporate world. When this happens, it is usually because their business may not have been as successful as expected, or they have not been able to achieve the steady income which comes with senior corporate positions.

There are still good opportunities available at companies looking for well-seasoned talent nearing, or at, retirement age – but an open mind is needed to avoid missing out. We advise senior executives to be flexible and keen to explore what is available before shutting out possibilities that could light up their twilight career years.

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Golden opportunity.