Surviving the digital age: Gen X dealing with redundancy

April 3, 2024

Surviving the digital age: Gen X dealing with redundancy

After a late life career change from media, Andrew Kirkup now works in labelling. Photo: Isabella Reeve

Generation X are facing job changes late in their career due to evolving technology and new ways of working.

These factors have been linked to Gen X redundancies leaving them tasked with upskilling or retraining into a different role.

Ian Page was trained as a printer and worked at the same company for thirty years before being made redundant.

“I thought I’d be printing for my whole life, but obviously the industry is changing and going tech, so you just don’t need people doing this anymore.”

Page was out of work for 12 months before having to find a job in a different field.

“You’re only trained up at one thing, it was pretty specialised what we did, there was only two companies in New Zealand that did it, so for me that was even worse as you have nowhere else to go.”

Andrew Kirkup had a job in media for 13 years doing Adobe Photoshop and InDesign work before being made redundant during COVID.

“As the years went on, I thought I’d probably be here for the rest of my working life.”

Kirkup had realised the company’s sales were declining as digital media became favoured over print media.

“There were two main magazines propping up the whole company, then when COVID hit they just pulled out of New Zealand altogether.”

Kirkup says he didn’t take the redundancy personally, but it was still upsetting as it came as a bit of a shock.

An ex-leadership and culture manager at an FMCG company struggled to accept their redundancy which also coincided with the COVID lockdown.

“Losing a job of twenty-plus years while being in my mid-fifties was daunting.

"Equally, my job was all about creating in-person engagement events and with COVID this shifted to a digital platform overnight, I guess COVID was like the death warrant.”

After initial uncertainty, Page found maintenance work with a property management company doing a broad range of new skills such as building, flooring, painting and other repair work.

“I already knew how to do some stuff but found I had to learn a lot on the job.”

Kirkup had a couple of short-term roles before moving to a labelling company where he has found there is much to wrap his head around.

“It’s new for me because it's all different types of terminology that I’ve never had to deal with before, so it’s been quite a learning curve”.

Page feels today’s generation will be more equipped to deal with career changes and reskilling.

“They’ll have several careers in their lifetime, times have changed, that’s just the way it is now”.

Follow this link to hear more of Andrew Kirkup’s experience of being made redundant.

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