According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1995 and 2007, the number of full-time older workers (65 and older) doubled. They predicted that between 2006 and 2016, workers between 65 and 74 will grow by 83% while workers 75 and older will increase by 84%.
Whether you’ve decided to work out of financial necessity or just can’t sit still in retirement, you’ll find plenty of jobs for seniors.
As the full retirement age has crept up in the U.S. over the years, more seniors are in the workforce than ever before. Combine that with a large segment of Baby Boomers hitting their sixties and the recent recession and it’s no wonder the working population is getting older.
Also, today’s seniors are healthier than ever allowing them to work into their late sixties and seventies.
In an AARP survey, both pre-retirees and retirees were asked the reasons they were working in retirement. Their answers are as follows:
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|Pre-retirees who plan to Work (%)||Working retirees (%)|
|Desire to stay mentally active||87||68|
|Desire to stay physically active||85||61|
|Desire to remain productive or useful||77||73|
|Desire to do something fun or enjoyable||71||49|
|You’ll need the health benefits||66||20|
|Desire to help other people||59||44|
|Desire to be around people||58||47|
|You need the money||54||51|
|Desire to learn new things||50||37|
|Desire to pursue a dream||32||20|
Pre-retirees one major factor to work in retirement
- Need money 22%
- Need health benefits 17%
- Stay mentally active 15%
- Be productive or useful 14%
- Stay physically active 9%
- Help other people 6%
- Do something fun 5%
- Be around people 4%
- Learn new things 3%
- Pursue a dream 3%
- Don’t know/Refused 3%
Features of a Good Job?
What will you look for in a job? Make a list of all the things you liked and didn’t like in your working life. What do you absolutely have to have? What kind of environment can you not work in? Do you want to work with the public? With younger workers?
In the AARP survey of pre-retirees and those working in retirement, the respondents selected these employer features as “very important”.
- Employee opinions are valued
- Working for a company that lets older employers work as long as they want
- Being able to take time off to care for relatives
- Setting their own hours
- Health benefits
Also, what kind of work do you want? Regular employment; independent contractor; self-employed; part time; full time; or seasonal. Knowing this can help you in your next phase: where to work?
Where to Work?
Is there a company in your community you’ve always wanted to work for? Do you have a hobby that employs people in your area? Maybe you’re a woodworker—try your local hardware store. Do you like to be around books? Try the library or bookstores. Make a list of places you think you’d like to work.
Is there a college, community college or university in your town? Try their employment centers or vocational counseling office.
Go to your public library and search the career section for ideas. Your librarian can be a great help here.
Do you want to try a variety of jobs to see what you like? Try an employment agency like Kelly, Adecco, or Robert Half, talk to a placement agent and see what’s out there. They offer jobs ranging from a one-day gig to a 1 year contract.
Many of the above options can be researched, at least initially, on-line. Which brings up another point: if you’re in the dark on using a computer, take a class from your public library on the basics. Most jobs will require at least rudimentary computer knowledge even if it’s just operating a cash register (which is mostly computers).
Actually, it can be a good idea to build your overall skill set so that you are more marketable. If you have been working a narrow niche most of your professional career, start building your value as a contractor or part-time employee by learning all the skill in the wider niche.
One of the hottest markets for seniors is content creation for web sites. Seniors, who are good writers, can find contract jobs on Craig's List. Every gig helps build your portfolio and seniors can be the most qualified for these jobs because they typically have years of experience that allow them to create stellar content. The best part of the deal is that you can get income while working from home.
Updated: Feb 10, 2011