New trends in retirement jobs
After making the life-defining decision to retire, seniors are returning to work, and some are even staying at work past retirement age. These seniors are defining the term “retirement jobs” and simultaneously creating a unique level of quality in the workforce. Never before have such experienced and historically productive workers been part of an extended career opportunity. Recent data from the Labor Department shows that in the first half of 2010 the number of people over 65 in the labor force was as high as 6.6 million (compared to 4.1 million in 2001).
“Employing older workers can unlock the purchasing and creative power of millions of trainable employees and eager consumers,” says AARP Board Chairman Charles Leven. “As people age, they continue to create demand for goods and services. This, in turn, creates jobs for people to produce those products and services. In the United States, people aged 50-plus control 75 percent of the nation’s disposable income and own 77 percent of all personal financial assets.”
Companies are changing their views about senior workers
An increasing number of today’s employers are including 50-plus workers in their workforce plans and are actually developing hiring strategies focused on attracting this demographic.
“Older workers are recognized and valued for having a good work ethic and for providing experience, knowledge, and job stability in the workplace,” Leven says. “They are viewed as loyal workers who can be counted on in a crisis. All of these attributes make them desirable workers in our service-oriented economies.”
How adult children can help
Adult children are a valuable job search resource for their retired parents, even more so than it appears at first glance. Because of the Internet, job searching today is dramatically different than it was 20 years ago.
Your children can help compose a resume that highlights transferrable skills and experience. They can also help you find a computer class in the community so you can expand your skill set. Public libraries often offer free introductory computer and computer software classes, and community colleges offer adult computer classes for a relatively low cost.
Why do seniors want retirement jobs?
People gravitate back to work for various reasons. The most common reasons that seniors give for wanting retirement jobs fall into three basic categories:
- Money – Earning supplemental income has been a main driver for getting seniors back to work during retirement or for keeping them at work longer. This helps to stretch out savings accounts, pensions, and Social Security dollars and increase or maintain healthcare benefits.
- Love to work – Some people want retirement jobs because they just love to work. Whether it’s because their work is creative and autonomous or because they want to try something new, work is often a source of personal satisfaction.
- Social – Seniors who are retired can feel a sense of isolation after leaving an interactive work situation. For most people, an opportunity to regularly interact with others at a retirement job is a natural way to maintain an active social life.
Help finding the right retirement job
Because of the rising numbers of seniors headed back to work, AARP developed a job training and placement program called Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). The program offers an online skills assessment and career match tool, a Training Assistance Program (TAP), and a job-searching tool.
SCSEP helps unemployed people age 55 and over whose income is below 125% of the federal poverty level, and who live in a county that is served by an AARP SCSEP office, become more successful at finding a job by improving job skills, gaining work experience, and increasing their self-confidence. Based on a person’s eligibility for services, SCSEP provides:
- Assessment of existing job skills and interests
- Assistance with setting job goals
- An individual employment plan
- Help with locating job training for new skills
- Resume assistance
- Job interview tips
- Information about job clubs and workshops
- Job leads, and follow-ups to check progress
- Worker’s compensation insurance
- A yearly physical exam
- A free one-year membership in AARP
Area Agencies on Aging are also a good job searching resource. Many local offices provide assistance and guidance for getting seniors to back to work in a well-aligned position.
It may be difficult for a senior to find a job similar to one previously held, which may be good or bad. Either way, try not to pigeonhole yourself into the same type of position you always had, because that might not be the opportunity that is available to you. Open your mind to the possibilities of new work experiences and think about where you can contribute your same skills in a different environment. Talk with your adult children about how they can assist you in your search for a great retirement job. Make a list of your skills and interests, and then figure out how to bring the two lists together to locate a job that will provide income and personal fulfillment for you during your retirement years. These jobs can actually be hidden opportunities for satisfaction that you hadn’t anticipated for your retirement years.