Best Jobs for Seniors

by Martha Pierson   Apr 06, 2021

Working past the traditional retirement age is more common than ever. According to the 2019 Census, almost 26% of the American workforce is between 65 and 74.

Whatever your reason for wanting to work post-retirement, the good news is that you, as a senior citizen, have plenty of options. Whether you want to continue working in your field or enter a new one, there are many great jobs available to seniors.

What Are the Best Jobs for Retired People?

Senior woman speaking to a group of business colleagues.

Many opportunities are waiting for you; which path you take will in part depend on why you want to work. If it's for social reasons, you'll want to look for a job that allows you to interact with many people as part of your daily work duties. If you can compromise social contact for greater flexibility, you may want to consider working from home. If your work environment is less important to you than finding a lucrative job with a high hourly wage, there are options for that as well.

Consultant/Independent Contractor

If you are ...

  • An expert in your field
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Flexible

This is an excellent option for the older adult who's worked in one or two fields for a long time and is eager to keep working in that area. If you've made your career in skilled or specialized labor, consulting might be the natural next step. Consultants use the knowledge they've amassed to assist other companies and individuals who need industry-specific advice and solutions.

Consultants are relevant to most industries but are especially common in industries such as:

  • finance and accounting
  • advertising
  • human resources
  • education
  • nonprofit and human services
  • healthcare and pharmaceuticals
  • information technology

For many older Americans, consulting is a good progression from active work in a field to a more "armchair" approach. Working as a consultant or independent contractor allows you to be flexible in your hours since you are often working for yourself. If you're concerned with making a lot of money as an independent contractor or consultant, you will need to possess an entrepreneurial spirit. This can be stressful for individuals who would rather have a more structured work style but a blessing for those who want to work at their own pace.

Education and Required Skills: As an independent contractor or consultant, you will be looked to as an expert in your field. That means you must have the knowledge and skills necessary to solve problems and deliver results to those who hire you. The level of skill and command required takes years to develop. For many employers of independent contractors and consultants, experience is a must. Your concrete experience in an industry may be more important than your level of formal education, although this differs by industry.

Job Demands: Job demands will differ based on the industry in which you're working. For example, if you're going to be an independent contractor in construction, you will be expected to perform moderate to heavy manual labor daily. If you're a consultant for a marketing company, on the other hand, the only thing you'll have to pick up is the phone.

Salary: The average yearly salary for consultants and independent contractors is $83,450, or $40/hr. However, this is highly variable. Salary differs by industry and how in-demand consultants in your industry are. As a consultant or independent contractor, you set your own hours and hourly rates.

If you're eager to use your expertise in a more laid-back capacity, consulting or independent contracting may be an excellent option for you.

Tutor

If you are ...

  • A retired teacher
  • Social
  • Patient

Tutoring is a job very much in the same vein as independent contracting or consulting. As a tutor, you will be using your knowledge of academic subjects to help students excel in their schoolwork. Like independent contracting or consulting, you set your own rates and your own hours.

Tutoring comes in many different forms. Some tutors work exclusively in person, while others are employed through tutoring agencies and organizations. Online tutoring is also rising in popularity. Online tutors are employed on sites such as Chegg.com. In addition, some tutors work exclusively with students who need help preparing for standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. No matter what kind of tutoring you do, you must enjoy working with students one-on-one.

If you're working with younger students, you may be a tutor in general grade-level material rather than in one particular subject. Your knowledge of a subject will need to be more specialized the higher your pupils go in grade level.

Education and Required Skills: To be a tutor, you must have at least a bachelor's degree in the subject you wish to teach. You must also have a command over the subject matter. This is an excellent job for a retired teacher. It never hurts to have a teaching certificate as well, although it is not a requirement.

Job Demands: There are no physical requirements for being a good tutor. All you need is knowledge, teaching skills, a desire to see others succeed, and — sometimes — a lot of patience.

Salary: $30,000-$60,000, or $12-$50/hour. How much you can charge per hour depends on what kind of tutor you are (in-person, online, etc.), what subject matter you teach, your location, and your level of education. Many tutors are part-time workers, and this is one of the best part-time jobs for retirees.

Tutoring is a great opportunity to get joy out of watching the younger generation succeed. It's a highly social job best reserved for those who are patient and nurturing.

Customer Service Representative

If you are ...

  • Patient
  • Highly social
  • A people pleaser

Customer service representatives are one of the most essential departments in any company. It can be an energizing yet thankless job and depending on your personality, you might have the potential to either love it or hate it.

You must be willing to work in a socially demanding environment. The customers you will be talking to on the phone are likely to ask a series of questions. As a customer service representative, you must be able to answer their questions with patience and clarity. In addition to answering customer questions and concerns, you will have to process billing, take orders, and provide information about products and services. The majority of customer service representatives are employed in retail, insurance, and business services.

Education and Required Skills: High school diploma or equivalent

Job Demands: The biggest job demand, per se, is that you must have an amicable personality, as you will be dealing with customers all day and possibly when they're not in the best of spirits.

Salary: $36,598 or $13.47/hour

Childcare Worker

If you ...

  • Are energetic
  • Like staying home
  • Wish you had more grandchildren

The early years of a child's life are the most crucial for healthy development. This is when they develop social and motor skills, sensory capabilities, and learn about the world around them. Childcare workers understand the importance of this stage in a child's life and are dedicated to raising healthy children.

Childcare workers are responsible for taking care of children in their parents' absence, often if both parents work during the day. As a childcare worker, you will be responsible for the well-being of the kids you are entrusted to care for. Childcare duties include:

  • Provide proper nutrition
  • Supervising safety
  • Prepare activities and games

Childcare workers should have a deep understanding of all aspects of caring for children. This means you should know how to appropriately speak to and treat children according to their age. You should be able to communicate effectively with children, meeting their needs on their level. You must also be able to discipline children when necessary. It's important to understand the difference between when children need discipline and when they need another approach.

Education and Required Skills: High school diploma or equivalent

Job Demands: N/A

Salary: $22,038 or $10.60/hour

This will be a gratifying job for the person who loves children and doesn't mind the messiness that comes with it.

Why Do Seniors Work Past the Age of Retirement?

Senior man working on a computer at an office.

There is a multitude of reasons why an older adult works past the standard retirement age of 65. Often, it comes down to a lack of retirement savings; it's estimated that the average retirement savings account has only $50,000. For many retirees, that just isn't enough to live comfortably. Many individuals, therefore, choose to retain a retirement income.

Those who are financially secure and work semi-retirement jobs by choice do so for a wealth of reasons. Some retirees swear by working; they say it keeps them young. Others are passionate about their field of industry and can't imagine parting ways with it. The workplace can also be an environment for socializing, which has such health benefits as increasing mental and emotional wellbeing and even increasing life expectancy.

A 2018 survey conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that of retirees, 9% of respondents worked for pay; 5% worked part-time, 2% worked full-time, and 2% were self-employed.

The survey cites the most common reasons for working post-retirement as follows:

  • Financial stability (56%)
  • Enjoying work (47%)
  • Intellectually stimulating (34%)
  • A sense of purpose (27%)

When deciding what kinds of jobs you'd enjoy, ask yourself how important these factors are to you.

Other Factors to Consider When Looking for Jobs for Older People

Working post-retirement isn't one size fits all. If you still don't have a clear picture of what you're looking for in a job, it may help to consider the following:

  • Education requirements. Some jobs require an associate degree, bachelor's, or graduate degree. Also, some jobs require licensure and certification that may have to be continually renewed. Keep this in mind when deciding whether you want to make a long-term commitment to a particular field.
  • Physical requirements. Some jobs are more laborious than others. For example, if a job requires heavy lifting, like construction, it may not be suitable for someone with a bad back. Likewise, running around a hospital all day as a nurse practitioner may be difficult for someone with mobility issues.
  • Technological skills. Do you possess technological prowess? If not, you may want to cross out jobs that will require you to interact with computer programs or complex equipment.
  • Job growth. This is especially important to consider if you are looking to enter a new field. If you're not in it for the long haul and just want a job to earn a bit of extra income or pass your newly acquired free time, job growth in an industry may not be as important to you.
  • Stress level. Stress is proven to have adverse health effects on every level — mental, physical, and emotional. It is well documented that being under heavy stress decreases life expectancy by 2.8 years. If you have health issues that need to be closely monitored, such as blood pressure, chronic pain, or mental illness, it may serve you best to stick to a low-stress job.
  • Essential or Non-Essential? Job concerns that have come along in the wake of COVID-19 are as novel as the virus itself. According to the CDC, seniors are at greater risk of contracting and suffering the long-term effects of COVID-19, including death. It may be best for working seniors to have remote jobs right now. Seniors who aren't vaccinated would do best to stay out of harm's way and not take on a job that is considered essential, such as a grocery store cashier or a delivery driver.
  • What kind of employment? You should also ask yourself whether you are looking for short-term or permanent employment. Do you want a full-time or part-time job, as this will limit your choices? Or, perhaps you've reached retirement age and only want to work a seasonal job. Maybe you haven't retired yet and simply want extra cash through a second career.

With all the above in mind, here are the best full-time and part-time jobs for retirees.

How Can a Retiree Find a Job?

Retiree looking for a job online.

These are just some of the retirement job opportunities available to the older job seeker. Also, you may consider being a dog walker, pet sitter, administrative assistant, virtual assistant, athletic coach, house sitter, or even artisan. All of these make excellent senior jobs and jobs for part-time workers.

Nowadays, one of the most efficient ways to start the job hunt is to search an online job board and recruitment website. A quick web search for jobs in whichever of the above categories you're interested in should yield results for open positions near you.

Some of the most highly utilized job postings websites are Indeed, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Monster, and LinkedIn Job Search.

It might also not be a bad idea to create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site that many recruiters and job seekers alike commonly use. There, you can follow companies you're interested in working for and conduct job postings searches through LinkedIn Job Search for your next employment opportunity.

LinkedIn is also great for the older person who wants to network with current and past employers and co-workers. If you have a vast network of connections, it may serve you well to reach out to people who may steer you toward your next employment opportunity.

Challenges when Seeking a Job for Seniors

Finding a job that makes good money is an arduous process for most people. Labor statistics prove that seniors face unique challenges on top of all these already daunting tasks due to their age.

Education Requirements

Chances are mature workers are past the stage in their life when they want to go to school and explore new career ideas. It is more likely that working seniors will want to make do with the education and skills rather than actively seeking out new ones. Nowadays, job candidates require higher education for jobs that used to not require degrees or soft skills like computer knowledge.

Fields like technology, information, and finance are rapidly evolving, and many retirees fear that they will be seen as obsolete. It's hard enough for those in the field to keep up with industry changes. It will be that much harder for those who haven't been working in the field for a while to stay ahead of the curve. It's harder to get a job than ever before, and not being up-to-date on certifications and cutting-edge technology will make getting a job in rapidly changing fields that much more difficult.

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is another way in which seniors are disadvantaged for jobs. In an AARP survey, 38% of unemployed respondents believed they had been picked over for a job due to their age. Participants 65 and older claimed age discrimination was one of the main reasons they ultimately gave up the job search.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination in the workplace. However, that does not mean it entirely prevents it. The sad truth is that age discrimination is still fairly widespread. Even though it is illegal, older employees have reported their employer favoring younger employees. This includes everything from leaving older employees out of company activities to blatantly ageist remarks.

COVID-19 Issues

It would also be amiss not to mention the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on seniors in the workforce. Widespread layoffs ravaged most industries and some more than others. Those who weren't laid off might have had to resign due to work-related health concerns.

Layoffs

Unemployed jobseekers aged 65 and older were also more likely to be unemployed due to layoffs than younger job seekers. Often, this leads to long-term unemployment (defined as 27 weeks or longer of unsuccessful job hunting), which can be a strike against them in an employer's eyes. In other words, the longer an individual stays unemployed, the harder it is for them to get a job offer.

Why Business Owners Should Hire Older Workers

The unfortunate reality is that some business owners will have a subconscious bias against older workers. They think that younger workers who are fresh out of college or are at their peak agility will be best suited to the job, but that simply isn't true. There are plenty of benefits to hiring older workers.

  • Expert decision-making. The most obvious benefit of hiring older workers is hiring someone who has life experience making decisions in business. Older workers bring the sum of their expertise and life experience to the table, which translates to refined judgment when it comes to decision-making.
  • New perspectives. By increasing the diversity of your company, you come into contact with new and varied perspectives. That alone is more critical to business success than many realize.
  • Loyalty. It should come as no surprise that older workers tend to have more loyalty to their employers than younger workers. Often, older employees have an easier time committing to a position and are in it for the long haul.
  • Professionalism. Older workers have had more time to learn how to be a professional in their field. They know how to speak to others within and outside their organization. Having someone on your team you can rely on to communicate well with clients is a must.
Martha Pierson, author at OpenLoans
Editor-in-Chief
Martha provides financial and business management analysis for retailers and service providers.