The new term for jobs for older people—usually defined as age 50 and above—is “retirement jobs,” though perhaps “alternative-to-retirement jobs” would be more fitting.
There are many reasons people in their 50s, 60s, and even beyond find themselves on the job market. Some have been laid off or lost their job for other reasons, as can happen to workers of any age.
But also there are many people who were retired or semi-retired, but have decided to “unretire.” They usually do so because they’re having trouble making ends meet. Social Security doesn’t provide a lavish lifestyle after all—generally just enough to avoid abject poverty. Expected pensions can fail to come through if companies go under. Fluctuations in the stock market or other investments can take a bite out of what was supposed to provide a comfortable retirement.
Or sometimes people return to the work force simply because they’re bored and looking for a more productive, fulfilling way to spend their time.
For those seniors and soon-to-be seniors who are on the job market, for whatever reason, there are many promising options to consider:
Sometimes the most promising route for an older person is not to try to convince someone else to hire them, but to start an enterprise of their own. With decades of life experience and work experience, an older person likely has many skills that could be the foundation for their own business.
This can be a traditional brick and mortar business, but doesn’t have to be. There is also money to be made through eBay and the Internet, or a booth at a farmers market or street fair. Someone who does crafts, sewing, freelance writing, gardening or small scale farming, etc. can take advantage of numerous outlets to sell their wares, and not have to worry about satisfying an employer.
A specific form of self-employment is consulting. Someone who spent a long career in a certain field, but is no longer working full time in it, could be an ideal consultant for that field. This is a great way to put accumulated knowledge to work in assisting those following in one’s footsteps.
3. Sticking around one’s last job
Whether by the employer’s choice or the employee’s choice, there are times an older worker isn’t destined to remain in their present job. However, this needn’t be an all or nothing thing. According to a study by Cornell University, 75% of employers report that they would be willing to keep their older employees at reduced hours who otherwise would be leaving their employ entirely. 26% would allow those part time employees to retain their health benefits, and 40% would allow them to start drawing their pension if they kept working part time past retirement age.
Most of these employers, though, don’t make this known unless the subject comes up, and most workers don’t know to inquire about such an option when they step down from their full time position.
4. Online job search engines
Older workers, just like anyone else on the job market, have nearly endless resources available online nowadays. Sites like Monster, Career Builder, and Craigslist post thousands if not millions of available jobs. These and other sites also have areas to post resumes so one can be found by potential employers instead of having to find them, as well as articles, posting forums, etc. to help with all stages of job hunting.
But in addition to the well-known generic job sites, there are many job search engines that serve specifically older workers. Worth checking out are Retirement Jobs and Workforce 50.
There are also plenty of relevant resources at the AARP site, which has a whole section devoted to older people in the work force, with material on job hunting, starting a business, the rights of older workers, and more.