A major shift in the overall picture of the workforce has been underway since the economic recession that struck in 2008, and seniors, those at and approaching retirement age, play an integral role in the changing developments. Changes in health care that allow people to live longer and healthier lives, coupled with a smaller younger workforce to take new jobs means that workers 50 and older have a vast and diversified number of options.
While the variety of jobs available for workers facing retirement, typically viewed as those 50 and older, is vast, the kinds of situations workers seek are not as varied. According to a survey by Retirement Jobs.com, a company started by former senior managers in human capital development, the common thread among older workers is that they want flexibility. Flexibility is defined by retirees as being able to work when it’s convenient, taking time off when the desire hits, and working half-days and for only part of the week. Ideal jobs that provide flexibility often are those found in self-employment, sales, consulting and industries that don’t require set working hours.
After the age of 50, jobs that require extensive physical exertion or a certain kind of young physique are not suitable. Swimsuit models and professional athletes are usually younger than 50. Instead, older workers can find plenty of opportunities to convey the years of knowledge they’ve accumulated. Coupled with the wisdom that comes with living, older workers bring a vast amount of maturity and technical knowledge to many jobs. Personal or career coach, financial consultant, human resources recruiter and ghost writer all are professions you could move into without additional training or education. Teaching and training are ideal jobs for workers with extensive knowledge in a field.
Jobs for people over the age of 50 in the same field they trained and worked in their whole lives may not be an option when layoffs, downsizing and other outside factors leave older workers unemployed. Instead of trying to stay in a comfort zone where you know what’s expected, older workers may have to move into other fields. Remember, most careers help you develop a set of skills that translate into other industries. An accurate assessment can help you find those opportunities. For example, if you worked in the banking industry as a loan originator, you may find that your attention to detail and your head for numbers makes you a whiz at tax preparation. If you managed a large warehouse, you might find satisfying work as a dispatcher at the local taxi company.
While the thought of going back to school for four years or longer may seem daunting for an older worker, there are career paths that you can undertake after only a brief training period. Certified nursing assistants, for example, can land work immediately after completing coursework in as little as six weeks. Med techs, phlebotomists, senior daycare workers and other health-care-related opportunities also are in great demand and require little or no additional training. The need for workers across the board in health care, especially those that serve the aging population, will continue to grow as elderly baby boomers just a bit older than you require more and more care.