Changing lanes – 40 over 40


Insignia Grand Sport exterior

With the spotlight often shining on the ‘millennials’, the workplace trends of Generation X – that is, the generation before the millennials – are often overlooked.


New research by Management Today, together with Vauxhall Motors, reveals the career ambitions, opportunities and challenges of the 40-something generation.

Launching its new Insignia Grand Sport, Vauxhall Motors’ flagship vehicle, the research shows Gen X also adopting the freedoms of millennials to job-hop, switch careers, launch businesses and study. The rise of ‘Every-Age Entrepreneurs’, ‘Knowmads’, ‘Slash Careers’ and the career cycle proves that 40-somethings are just as hungry as their younger counterparts.

Every-Age Entrepreneurs

The findings show almost half of this generation plan to start their own business in the next 10 years, with a huge 70% looking for a “major change”.


Supported by other surveys, the evidence suggests this generation’s average age for starting a business is not mid-20s, but mid-40s. Often with a family to support, Gen X professionals believe owning a business will bring freedom and flexibility to their lives, with their main motivations stated as:


  • doing interesting work (52%)
  • being your own boss (61%)
  • being challenged (49%).


The valuable combination of financial security and business experience gives this generation the opportunity to design the next chapter of their career.

Death of the career path

The findings show that Gen Xers, who are both capable and curious to explore all avenues, have itchy feet and are no longer following a career path, but rather embracing an on-going and ever-evolving career cycle.

With over half (56%) of older professionals believing a job-for-life culture stifles development, it’s no surprise that more than 1 in 5 are planning to change careers in the next two years, with 20% planning to move sectors altogether.

The key factors behind changing careers for 40-somethings is, according to the research:


  • job satisfaction (66%)
  • a better work-life balance (60%)
  • reward packages (50%)
  • flexible working hours (42%).

A clear indication that they are working to live, not living to work.

Insignia Grand Sport interior

A generation of ‘Knowmads’

With employers demanding diverse skillsets in this increasingly competitive market, Gen X are acutely aware how crucial it is to stay informed and more importantly, to stay relevant in the workplace.

Eternal students at heart, the research reveals that 36% are seeking a university-level education or professional qualification in the next 24 months, with 43% wanting the opportunity to learn and grow in their next career.

‘Slash Careers’

With digital technology driving the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the research found that Gen X are turning their personal passions into viable career paths. A third of 40-somethings have a hobby that they intend to earn a second income from, with 7% already doing so.

Over 60% of Gen X are legally allowed to earn a second income, and when asked about the benefit of turning a hobby into a second income, 23% said this would be to eventually turn the hobby into a full-time career. This reaffirms the generational trend of doing what you love and loving what you do.

Insignia Grand Sport exterior

Insignia Grand Sport inspires Gen X leaders

Vauxhall Motors and Management Today have conducted this research to look at the changing landscape of the UK workplace. Launching this summer, the Insignia Grand Sport - Vauxhall’s most popular company car – keeps business people moving across the country every day. Serving as a modern business tool, it’s complete with fully integrated 4G WiFi and OnStar.

Denis Chick, Director of Communications at Vauxhall Motors, says: “As the Insignia Grand Sport sees more business than most cars in the country, we felt, together with Management Today, well positioned to take a closer look at the UK’s changing work landscape. Aiming to uncover the key trends and opportunities for older professionals, it’s great to see such strong findings that really do prove that the world is your oyster, whatever the age”.

Ian Wylie, Special Projects Editor at Management Today, says: “We are excited to have collaborated with Vauxhall Motors on this important research, a unique study and a first for Management Today. Lifting the lid on the career aspirations and concerns of Gen X workers, our findings suggest that this is a generation on the move, ready to make bold choices and grasp new opportunities. What’s more, we’ve identified ’40 over 40’ – 40 aspirational people who embody the trends we’ve identified - role models for starting new ventures, accelerating up the corporate ladder and taking radical career left-turns to make nonsense of the idea that 40 is past your prime.”

Together with Management Today and its readers, Vauxhall Insignia has identified 40 inspirational business men and women over the age of 40, who are leading the way in the UK workplace and who embody the trends unveiled.