Older Americans are the new "unemployables," according to a 2010 report by Boston College's Sloan Center on Aging and Work. The recession that started in 2007 increased competition for all jobs, especially the ones that pay more than the 2009 median annual household income of $49,000 for full-time American workers. Despite this trend, senior citizens who bring valuable skills to the workplace can find jobs that offer more than minimum wage in high-demand industries.
Senior Employment Issues
Baby Boomers born in 1946 turn 65 in 2011 and will start swelling the ranks of America's senior citizens. Aging workers who have not yet retired face potential layoffs during downsizing, and longer periods of unemployment than younger workers. Seniors who have seen their retirement resources and investments depleted during the recent recession may need to remain in the workforce up to age 70 to stay afloat.
Best Senior Jobs
The services sector is the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. economy. From retail and customer service jobs to senior care and limousine drivers, services jobs offer opportunities that let seniors apply hard-earned skills in a new way. Career Builder has compiled a list of high-paying occupations for people 45 and older that should continue to experience growth. These jobs range from government and private sector executives with salaries that average $142,000, to medical and health services managers at salaries of $77,000, and management analysts at $60,000. U.S. News reports that the top home-based and office jobs for seniors fetch hourly rates from $20 to $70 in nursing and $12 to $40 for financial services, such as bookkeeping, tax preparation and financial managers. Pay ranges for specialty retail sales, merchandising and grocery management jobs range from $11 to $30 per hour.
Career Transition Skills
Lack of technology skills is often a roadblock for seniors in transition. Acquiring basic computer skills opens additional job opportunities that won't require you to leave home. The applicant who has experience, a good work ethic, stellar references and technology skills can trump the new graduates and rise quickly to management positions in service industries, despite the presence of a few gray hairs.
Flexibility is the senior worker's key to finding higher-paying work. Former educators can expand employment options by repositioning themselves to create corporate training manuals, evaluate employee competencies or deliver new-hire workshops, common skills used while preparing and delivering classroom instruction. For best job search outcomes, complete a skills inventory that helps you clarify and classify the skills that you can offer potential employers. Then conduct your job searches with skill keywords rather than job titles. Be prepared to try job opportunities that do not match your previous job titles.
- U.S. Census Bureau: Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
- Boston College: The “New Unemployables”
- US News: 15 Top Office and Home-Based Jobs for Seniors
- Career Builder: 25 Best Jobs for Boomers
- HR World: Top 25 Careers to Pursue in a Recession
- AARP: 5 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
- CNN: 10 Booming Jobs and How to Get Them